Little Golden Books are an iconic part of American culture. They were first published in 1942 and have since become a beloved children’s classic. This article will explore the history behind Little Golden Books, the number of titles they hold, as well as some fun facts about them that you may not know! Reading on Penn Book to know more about How Many Little Golden Books Are There?
How Many Little Golden Books Are There?
According to the official website, the first Little Golden Books were published on February 2, 1942. Each book costs 25 cents. Twelve books were published within the first year, with The Poky Little Puppy being the only original story.
- The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey – This classic tale is about a group of naughty dogs who set out to discover the world despite their mother’s warnings. The puppies get no dessert each day when they return home from their adventures. The Poky Little Puppy, however, always returns home first. This is sometimes good and sometimes bad for him.
- Three Little Kittens illustrated by Masha – This is an adaptation of a nursery rhyme about three kittens that lose their mittens and get dirty while on their way to eat pie.
- Bedtime Stories illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren – This collection features three classic stories about Little Red Riding Hood and The Gingerbread Man.
- The Alphabet A-Z illustrated by Vivian Leah Blake – A rhyming text featuring all letters of the alphabet and everyday items that begin with each letter.
- Mother Goose by Phyllis Fraser – A collection of Mother Goose nursery rhymes such as Peter Pumpkin Eater or Old King Cole.
- Prayers for Children by Mary Reed – A collection of simple prayers that children can recite or memorize.
- The Little Red Hen Illustrated by J.P. Miller – Based on a folk tale, a hen requires help growing, harvesting, and planting her wheat. Other animals can’t help. Everyone wants to help her make bread from the grain.
- Nursery Songs Arranged by Leah Gale – A collection of children’s songs such as Farmer in the Dell or Mulberry Bush.
- The Golden Book of Fairy Tales illustrated by Adrienne Segur – A collection of fairy tales for children, including Jack and the Beanstalk.
- Baby’s Book illustrated by Bob Smith – Take a look around at some of the everyday items Baby finds in the house.
- The Animals of Farmer Jones by Leah Gale – These hungry farm animals seek a farmer to feed them.
- This Little Piggy – Features the counting rhyme “This Little Piggy went to Market…
Popular Titles from the 1940s
The books were published in the early days and focused on folk tales and popular fairy tales.
- The Lively Little Rabbit (1943) by Mary Reed – A weasel finds its way into the rabbit hole. The little rabbit, with the help of friends, discovers a way to scare it away. This book is a vintage collectible.
- Through the Picture Frame (1944) Adapted by Robert Edmunds – This is the first title of the Walt Disney partnership. It tells Ole Lukoie, a fairytale about a dream god (or sandman) who grants dreams to children.
- Tootle (1945) by Gertrude Crampton – The story is about a train that gets distracted from its goals. Publisher’s Weekly reported that this book was number three in the top 100 children’s books.
- Scuffy the Tugboat (1946) by Gertrude Crampton – Scuffy, a little toy boat, doesn’t want his life in a toy shop. So he sets out to discover where he belongs. This favorite is a classic for children ages 2-5.
- Saggy Baggy Elephant (1947) by Byron and Katherine Jackson – Sooki, the elephant, feels self-conscious after being teased by another animal. He learns to love himself when he meets animals with similar features to him. According to Publisher’s Weekly data, this book is the seventh-most popular children’s book.
- Little Black Sambo (1948) by Helen Bannerman – This story is about an Indian boy who meets vain tigers. In exchange for the promise not to eat him, he gives all his clothes to the tigers. The boy can prosper from the fighting between the tigers and their fight. Later, the story would become a controversy over race and was even banned from many areas.
Little Golden Books continues to fulfill its original mission of providing quality books for every child in this decade. To entice parents and children to buy, books were often found at the checkout of shops.
- I Can Fly (1950) by Ruth Krauss – This rhyming text shows a little girl who can do everything she pretends animals can.
- Tawny Scrawny Lion (1952) by Kathryn Jackson – This book examines the days of a week and how a family of rabbits persuaded a carnivorous Lion to eat carrot stew. It ranks at number 117 on Publisher’s Weekly’s best-selling lists.
- The Little Red Caboose (1952) by Marian Potter – A Parent Co. Top 10 Most Beloved Little Golden Book. This is the story of a simple caboose who longs to be a leader, like an engine, until he discovers his true strengths.
- Animal Friends (1953) by Jane Werner Watson – A story about animals and how they live. According to Steve Santi’s website, it is a trendy book.
- 5 Pennies to Spend (1955) by Miriam Young – Miriam Young describes a little boy who has five pennies to spend on himself. But some of his friends also want to purchase things. Steve Santi, an expert collector, lists the book as a favorite title.
- A Child’s Garden of Verses (1957) by Robert Louis Stevenson – A popular title that includes original poetry about childhood and nature-inspired explanations.
Popular Books of the 1960s
Television was a household staple from the 1950s to the late 1960s. This shift in entertainment delivery led to the creation of books based on TV characters.
- Baby Listens (1960) by Esther Wilkin – A baby hears different sounds in the house.
- Goodnight, Little Bear (1961) by Patricia Scarry – This is a fun mystery to help Father Bear find Little Bear while he searches the house. Richard Scarry, an internationally acclaimed illustrator and author for children, was the author’s wife.
- Huckleberry Hound and His Friends (1960) by Pat Cherr – The story of Huckleberry Hound, the TV show dog, is about Huckleberry’s anger at his friends after a day filled with impromptu activities and meetings. This title is listed on the history timeline of Little Golden Books.
- The Flintstones (1961) by Mel Crawford – Meet a family of cavemen and their pet, who might be more than they can handle. This is a trendy title for the period, according to the official website.
- Good Little, Bad Little Girl (1965) by Esther Wilkin – Follow the adventures of a good and nasty little girl, both of whom happen to be one person.
- Hush, Hush, It’s Sleepy Time (1968) by Peggy Parish – See how different animals prepare for bed.
Favorites from the 1970s
These books feature popular TV characters as well as popular toys.
- Charlie (1970) by Diane Fox Downs – Follow the story of Charlie, a small alley cat who sets out to find a better life and works hard for it.
- Rags (1970) by Patricia Scarry – It’s an adventure to get a new dog, especially for Mr. Kalabany and Mrs. Kalabany.
- The Monster at the End of This Book (1971) by Jon Stone – This is the only Little Golden Book that appears on the School Library Journal’s current Top 100 Picture Books of All Time List. Grover, a Sesame Street character, is concerned because he hears a monster at its end. He tries to discourage readers not to turn the pages.
- The Jolly Barnyard (1973) by Annie North Bedford – Farmer Brown is being celebrated by the animals in this Top 3 Most Beloved Golden Books, according to Parent Co.
- Barbie (1974) – This is the first book to feature Barbie. It follows Barbie as she celebrates her birthday.
Popular Titles from the 1980s
This decade will see readers enjoy a mix of moral stories and stories featuring their favorite characters. Many of these titles are rare or out of stock and listed at high prices because of their popularity.
- The Store-Bought Doll (1983) by Lois Meyer- A little girl buys a doll to replace her handmade one at the store. But she soon discovers that the old beauty might be even better.
- The Friendly Beasts (1983) – is a Christmas poem about animals and the baby Jesus.
- 101 Dalmatians (1985) by Dodie Smith – Two Dalmatians go on a mission to rescue their babies from an evil villain and find more puppies than they could have ever imagined.
- Beach Day (1988) by Fran Manushkin – Follow a little girl as she explores a beach.
- Mickey Mouse Heads for the Sky (1987) – Mickey Mouse is passionate about learning to fly. But does he love it too?
- Bugs Bunny and the Health Hog (1986) by Teddy Slater – Bugs Bunny convinces Porky Pig that he will work out with him. But soon, Porky Pig is doing more than Bugs. Bugs uses some tricks to bring his friend back to their former ways.
Books from the past decade feature movies, television, and toys characters. Collaborations with major brands for children are now a hallmark of the Little Golden Book’s appeal.
- The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Underwater Adventure (1990) by Michael Teitelbaum – Meet Ariel, a sea princess who wants the chance to experience what it’s like living on land with humans. She fights evil and falls for him. This item, one of many Disney princess books based on a movie, is out of stock at Children’s Classics.
- Eeyore, Be Happy (1991) by Don Ferguson – Winnie the Pooh, her friends, and Don Ferguson try to find a way for Eeyore to be happy. This classic Pooh story ranked #53 on the Goodreads Best Ever Little Golden Books List, voted by readers.
- Disney’s Darkwing Duck: The Silly Canine Caper (1992) by Justine Korman Fontes – This cartoon hero and his sidekick attempt to unravel the mystery behind why agents aren’t fulfilling their missions. This book was voted #65 by Goodreads readers as a result of their vote.
- Walt Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1994) by Don Ferguson – This scene is based on Fantasia’s location. Mickey learns magic by himself and follows his teacher’s instructions. This classic is ranked #21 by Goodreads readers as the #1 best book.
- Just a Bad Day (1993) by Gina and Mercer Mayer – Little Critter is a well-known character in children’s literature. He can’t get a break because nothing seems to be going as planned. Find out if he can make a bad day a good day.
- Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1999) by Justine and Ron Fontes – Based on the original Pokemon movie, this story sees Ash and his friends fighting to save the world from the villain Mewtwo. Little Golden Books has partnered with the popular Pokemon franchise.
Popular Titles/the early 2000s
As the books go on for another decade, many old favorites are reissued. Box sets are also created with books that are associated with specific themes.
- Barbie, Rapunzel (2001) by Diane Muldrow – Based on the fairy tale, the illustrations show Barbie dolls in various poses, rather than cartoon drawings.
- How the Turtle Got Its Shell (2001) by Justine and Ron Fontes – Learn more about turtles and learn legends and facts from a variety of cultures. Children’s Classics has permanently outgrown this title, as mentioned above.
- Mister Dog (2003) by Margaret Wise Brown – Crispin’s Crispian is a dog that belongs to him, and he meets a little boy who does the same. She is a well-known children’s author who has written over 100 books before her death.
- Disney The Lion King (2003) – by Justine Korman – storybook is telling the story of a children’s film of the same title. It follows the adventures of lion cub Simba as he discovers the secrets of the world. This story is included in the Disney Classics Box Set as one of five stories considered “beloved.”
- The Boy and the Tigers (2004) by Helen Bannerman – This retelling of the Little Black Sambo story features new characters and names to help make it more acceptable to other cultures and ethnicities. As mentioned in the original title, this story has been at the center of historical controversy regarding race relations.
- Paddington at the Zoo (2010) by Michael Bond – Paddington, the beloved bear character, sets off with his favorite marmalade sandwiches to take to the Zoo. He may not be the only one who enjoys those sandwiches.
Recent Published Favorites
Little Golden Books celebrated 75 years of publication in 2017. They continue to seek partnerships with new character brands and keep the emphasis on valuable lessons for children.
- Star Wars Little Golden Book Library – Published 2015, this six-book set features six Star Wars films and a themed spine. This is the first appearance of Star Wars in Little Golden Book form. This title can be found on the Little Golden Books historical timeline.
- DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon (2017) by Devra Newberger Speregen – Based on the movie, this story tells how Hiccup meets Toothless, his dragon friend. This title is one of five favorite titles from the DreamWorks Little Golden Book Library.
- Manners – Released in 2017, this never-before-published story by the beloved author, Margaret Wise Brown, of classics like Goodnight Moon, teaches basic techniques for kids using funny opposites.
Penguin Random House announces the upcoming Little Golden Books releases.
- Branch’s Bunker Birthday (January) by David Lewman – Branch’s friends, a movie character from Trolls, are throwing him a party, whether he likes it or not.
- Disney Princess Babysitter Stories (January) – Five Stories are featuring Your Favorite Disney Princesses as Babysitters.
- Jurassic Park (February) by Arie Kaplan – An age-appropriate storybook adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s film about a man who brings back dinosaurs in amusement parks.
A Comprehensive List
It is impossible to find a complete online list of Little Golden Books because there are more than 1,200 titles. The Little Golden Book Collector website has an alphabetical list of 1,230 Little Golden Books created in 2013. Fandom offers an alphabetical listing on an ongoing basis of Little Golden Book titles donated by collectors and fans.
Little Golden Books are a great way to start collecting them. Get Warman’s Little Golden Books Identification and Price Guide by Steve Santi. This guide provides tips for valuing a book and information about some of the most valuable Little Golden Book titles. Leonard Marcus has written a detailed history of the books in Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books.
Classic Books for Kids
Little Golden Books revolutionized accessibility to books for children by providing quality stories at affordable prices. These iconic books have been a delight to readers of all ages for over 75 years.