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Are Little Golden Books getting cool again?

Longtime readers of the Brew know I collect old Little Golden Books of the 50s and 60s because the standards of the artwork, particularly for the titles based on animation properties, is so high.

Ten years ago, in 1999, Craig McCracken ushered in a new era by illustrating a Powerpuff Girls book (“Big Terrible Trouble?”) in classic Little Golden Book style of the 50s. Since then, Pixar and Disney artists also began creating Little Golden Books, tied into their studio’s current features and shorts, using the same aesthetic.

Yesterday, while in a book store, I came across two more recent Little Golden Books – not tied-in to any animation – that didn’t suck, and I’m wondering if this is the beginning of a new trend. Do any of our readers know? The books I found up were Lasso The Moon by Trish Holland, illustrated by Valeria Petrone – and I’m A Truck by Dennis Shealy, illustrated by Bob Staake.

Lasso The Moon, from 2005, is a charming bedtime story told in pictures that are worthy of glossy pages and hardcover presentation. I’m A Truck (2006) features Bob Staake’s classy shape-driven designs and bold colors. Eye candy for kids of all ages. And only $3.99. Are these flukes? Is there more? I did a quick online search and found that Staake also illustrated a Little Golden Picture Dictionary, and Come Back Zack illustrated by Japanese painter Sachiko Yoshikawa. If anyone knows what’s going on at Random House regarding this line of books, I’d love to hear. I’m becoming a fan.

  • Christopher Cook

    I had the little Golden Books as a child, and even growing up there was a disarming, uninsulting quality to them. In this age of digital media and print, it’s good to see something old school like this step up to the plate.

  • Bob K.

    For folks in the Western MA area, there is a Golden Books exhbit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. We are going to the Berkshires for the long weekend, and will be taking our 5-year-old daughter to this on our way home to Boston, but I think I am even more excited than she is. Here is the info:

    Also, this is a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations, covering the history of the Golden Books:

    “Golden Legacy…”, by Leonard S. Marcus

    Highly recomended!

  • I attended a conference a few years ago where the editor, Diane Muldrow, said she took the position in order to restore Golden to its previous glory and weed out all the junky licensed stories that had been developed over the years. Maybe her work is coming to fruition?

  • ben c

    one of my favorite new ones isn’t an official little golden book but it seems close enough to be one.

  • Does “Lasso the Moon” have anything to do with “It’s a Wonderful Life”?

  • I’M A TRUCK is a real treasure of the newer Little Golden Books and one of my 3 year old’s favorites! That one is right up there with all of the Tibor Gergely books in my world….

  • Yes Diane Muldrow has been instrumental in preserving the art of Golden Books. She co-curated The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts exhibition with Golden Books expert Leonard Marcus. She will be here at the Museum on Feb. 20th. Bob Staake was just at the Museum talking about his current Golden Books. The exhibition runs through Feb. 28th. We also have an exhibition preview on The Carle website – with related programming. We would love to see you all in Amherst, MA

  • As beautiful as the LGB are I feel the animation industry relies on the look too much. I think it’s time we put them down for awhile and see what else is out there. Not that I don’t appreciate them but as an industry we do need to move beyond UPA and LGB.

  • Golden Books, both old and new, are faves with the three year-old in our house as well. They still seem a little hit-or-miss though.

    From a design standpoint, there are a lot of great kid’s books out there if you dig around. Lines That Wiggle is beautiful and whimsical, and not as LGB/UPA as the cover might suggest.

    Hey! it turns out Steve Wilson is an animation designer.

  • Here’s to Golden Books and classics for the next generations!

  • These look fantastic! What inspired styles!

  • THE SAILOR DOG may be my favorite children’s book ever!

  • Check out Brian Bigg’s upcoming “I’m a T-rex” book:

  • They’ve been populair again in Holland for a few years now.

  • Timothy J Tobolski

    I work at a B&N, and we devoted an entire bay to LGB fall of last year. I’ve noticed more and more titles being released and re-released since. Most B&N also have a section for Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes, featuring some beautiful reprints of Galdone’s books.

    If only Bill Peet would get some re-discovery love, I’d be a happy bookseller.