Before the introduction of Little Golden Books in 1942, children’s books normally sold for $2 to $3 each. Given average rates of U.S. inflation, that’s about $28 to $42 in today’s dollars. Purchasing children’s books was a luxury for most families until George Duplaix came on the scene. As president of the Artists and Writers Guild, Duplaix approached Simon & Schuster Publishing and Western Printing to develop colorful children’s books that would be durable and affordable for most American families.
Among the first Little Golden Books released on October 1, 1942 was The Poky Little Puppy, sold for just a quarter. This – among other early titles in the Little Golden Books series like The Little Red Hen, Mother Goose, and more – has become an iconic representation of both Little Golden Books and children’s literature spanning across generations.
After only five months on the market, 1.5 million copies were sold. The Poky Little Puppy is among the best-selling books of all time with nearly 15 million copies sold. The delightful illustrations have reappeared on reprinted editions, home goods, toys and clothing items throughout the decades since.
Ownership of Little Golden Books has changed several times over the years. It’s now published by Penguin Random House with new titles and licensed content from Disney, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon and more. Through it all, the books remain emblematic with a shiny golden spine and illustrated flyleaf pages where the owner can write his or her name inside.
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