Here is a sampling of the titles from my collection, my own
visual history of these little treasures and their wonderful
illustrations. It is only a fraction of the total published over the
last seven decades. I hope to be adding to them over time. Enjoy
your stroll through the pages and the memories we all share of The
Little Golden Books.--
First, A Bit of History . . .
The first 12 Little Golden Books were published in October,
1942. They sold for just
25 cents in department stores, supermarkets, and drugstores. They
were bright, colorful, inexpensive, and a size that children could
handle. The books were an instant success. Millions of mothers
bought them, especially to occupy their young children while
they were shopping, and many titles were in their 3rd printing
within a few months. By 1945, most were in their 7th printing.
Many other titles and varied editions followed, and the Golden
Books went on to become the most successful mass-market children's
At the time, many books for children were big, hard to
handle, and sold for $2-$3 (about $28-$42 in today's market).
The 25 cents was about the equivalent of $3.47 today, and much
more affordable. The price remained at 25 cents for 20 years.
Eventually it slowly rose . . . to 29 cents (1962), 39 cents
(1968), 49 cents (1974), 59 cents (1977), 69 cents (1979), 89
cents (1982), and 99 cents (1986). Today they are still a bargain
There were many variations and changes
made to individual Golden Book titles through the years. The early
printings of the first 35 titles were published with blue spines,
most with dust jackets, before switching to the gold paper spine
and later the gold foil spine.
time, the number of pages decreased. Sometimes covers changed,
while interiors remained the same. Other times a new edition was
produced with a different illustrator. Or perhaps small changes
were made, such as the font on the cover.
Until 1971, the books were numbered from 1 to 600.
However, they were not necessarily published in numerical order.
The Disney titles were numbered separately, from D1 to D140.
The Activity Books Series was published from 1955-1963. They were
numbered from A1-A52. They included an activity such as
stamps that could be stuck on the pages of the story. The Eager
Reader Series were published from 1974-1975 and had a solid gold spine.
They were numbered from 800-809. In 1989, the Little Golden Book
Land Series was released. Eight books were planned, but only six
were released. They were numbered GBL 370-374, and 377.
Also, on November 24, 1952, NBC Television began a
children's program called Ding Dong School, hosted by Dr Frances
Horwich. In July, 1953, Rand McNally began publishing the
Ding Dong School Book series. The books, numbered 200-225,
had the same format as the Little Golden Books, except the foil
on the spine was silver. The show went off the air in 1956.
Concerned about the quality of children's programs, Dr. Horwich
was able to get the show brought back in 1959. From 1959 to
1960, Golden Books rereleased some of the original Ding Dong
School Books. They had the golden spine and were numbered
DIN1-DIN8. I am including my Ding Dong School Books in with my
It can be tricky to determine the exact printing or edition
of one of the Little Golden Books. I have used two resources to
Tomartís Price Guide to Golden Book
Collectibles by Rebecca Gleason
Collecting Little Golden Books: A
Collectorís Identification and Price Guide
(4th Edition) by Steve Santi