75 Years of Little Golden Books to Treasure: The Poky Little Puppy & Friends

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.

The Poky Little Puppy  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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Share your Little Golden Book favorites and memories with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Tag @halfpricebooks and #Golden75.


Meredith is Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate. You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

30 Film Score Favorites

Film score composers are masters of emotion. Movies become extraordinary when the music is not just a bed but most another character unto itself, creating a sometimes-subliminal experience for the audience tailored to the cues of the film. A good film score can resonate with you long after the credits roll.

This list of my favorites isn’t an attempt to be comprehensive, so you can be forewarned that the classically-obvious selections – like Star Wars (1977), brilliantly-composed by John Williams, the epic score for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, composed by Howard Shore and Titanic (1997), the romantic and haunting composition by James Horner – are not included. But I hope to open your eyes (and ears) to some movies you might not have thought of before and to suggest you take a close listen to the beauty of the score entwined with these films. Without further ado, here are my 30 film score favorites (in no particular order).

Casablanca (1942), score composed by Max Steiner, likely ranks on most any “best of” movie list I’ve ever made (like this one, and this one). Its score is ageless. I could listen to it over and over again. And, in fact, I have.

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An Affair to Remember + Sleepless in Seattle, Plus Other Classic “Movies Within a Movie”

 “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.” – Terry McKay

An Affair to Remember (1957) celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. It first debuted in theaters July 11, 1957 and has been capturing the hearts of moviegoers and inspiring filmmakers ever since. Back in February of this year, for Valentine’s Day, I was delighted to go see the film again when it was screened in theaters for a special 2-day event. Sure, I could have watched it at home since I own it on DVD, but it was a romantic experience to take it in on the big screen. The cinematography in its original wide aspect ratio, glamorous mid-century sets and beautiful film score were a touch grander in the scale of the theater.

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Named the fifth most romantic movie ever by the American Film Institute, An Affair to Remember was actually a remake of  an earlier film success by director Leo McCarey called Love Affair (1939). The rights to the title Love Affair were still owned by Columbia Pictures at the time, so 20th Century Fox changed the name to the one we all know and love. Continue reading

Books Authors Read with David Sax

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Editor’s Note: We’re pretty passionate about the topic of David Sax’s latest book, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, where he dives into the truth about how humans shop, interact and think. It’s a blend of culture and psychology, serving up Sax’s observations and research about digital aspects of life and the real world around it. If you missed it, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with David here on the blog and learn about the inspiration behind the book.

We continue our “Books Authors Read” series with culture and business journalist David Sax. When we recently interviewed him, we took the opportunity to ask him about his favorite types of books and gave him a chance to spread a little book karma around for his fellow authors. Here are five books he enjoyed reading (some recently and some not so recently) and why. Thanks for sharing these with us, David! Continue reading

Before They Can Read: 12 Enchanting Picture Books for Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week

If you’re asking yourself, “When should I start reading to my baby?” the answer is today. It’s never too soon. Reading to your infant contributes to early development as they observe your mannerisms, listen to your speech, build motor skills and soak in all the colors and shapes. Trust me – you’ll blink, and your infant will soon be a toddler who can hardly sit still. But if you’ve started the routine of sitting down together to read, you’ll be able to carry this over into the preschool years and get a nice cuddle while you read new books together each day.

For little ones who can’t yet read on their own, illustrations in books are the heart of engaging imagination and captivating attention. Children’s literature is rich with beautiful art that can help a child develop a love of books (just as soon as they pass the stage in infancy where nibbling on the book is the primary intrigue).

As adults who are reading aloud to your kids, I believe it’s important that you enjoy the book, too, if for no other reason than it means you’re more likely to read it over and over again, making story time a cherished ritual with your kiddos. While there are some amazing classic children’s books which classic children’s books which every child should read, here are some children’s picture books you may not have heard of before that will inspire and get you (and your babes and tots) hooked on reading more books. What a perfect way to celebrate Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week. I’ve opened up 12 of my daughter’s recent favorites so you can see a peek at the delicious illustrations inside.

Bunny Roo, I Love You, written by Melissa Marr (@melissa_marr) and illustrated by Teagan White (@teaganwhite), is a playful and sweet book about how parents keep their little ones feeling safe and secure. The enchanting illustrations add to the warmth of the story, perfectly placed with the hand lettered words on each page. I also appreciate the whimsy of the pattern on the flyleaf. And should you ever lose the book jacket, have no fear, because the darling illustrations appear on the hardbound cover, too.

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Exclusive Interview with David Sax, author of The Revenge of Analog

“A funny thing happened on the way to the digital utopia. We’ve begun to fall back in love with the very analog goods and ideas the tech gurus insisted that we no longer needed. Businesses that once looked outdated, from film photography to brick-and-mortar retail, are now springing with new life. Notebooks, records and stationery have become cool again. Behold the Revenge of Analog. David Sax has uncovered story after story of entrepreneurs, small business owners and even big corporations who’ve found a market selling not apps or virtual solutions but real, tangible things. As e-books are supposedly remaking reading, independent bookstores have sprouted up across the country. As music allegedly migrates to the cloud, vinyl record sales have grown more than ten times over the past decade. Even the offices of tech giants like Google and Facebook increasingly rely on pen and paper to drive their brightest ideas.”

06booksax-blog427David Sax, business and culture writer and author of The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, just released his book November 2016. And in a fitting nod to the whole notion behind the book, nearly all the 20,000 first-run printed copies have sold out in the first month and it’s difficult to find the few that remain on bookstore shelves. Pop in your local HPB and grab a copy before they all disappear!

When I heard David speak on KERA’s Think with Krys Boyd, there was no mistaking his passion for the printed word. And I knew right away I needed to reach out to him firsthand. David is a champion of analog and an advocate for local bookstores. His love for tangible things is palpable. Things like 35mm film, old-fashioned bookbindery, vinyl records and brick-and-mortar shopping. I had the pleasure of getting to know David and learn more about the inspiration behind his latest book.

Q: What drew you to write about this topic?

A: Two things that sort of happened at the same time, a decade back.  1. Everyone I knew started getting smartphones (Blackberries…remember those?), and suddenly people’s behavior changed overnight.  2. I got back into records again, and those two things sparked a conversation about the nature of analog v. digital that eventually led to the book as the market caught up with it, too. Continue reading

Better Year, Better You: 24 Books for Your 2017 New Year’s Resolution

With the start of a new year, one can feel renewed with hope. Or, perhaps motivation. It’s a chance to better yourself, to start new habits or quit old ones. To pick up a new hobby or challenge yourself to face your fears. There’s a wealth of inspiration in store for you at Half Price Books. Whatever quest you’re on in 2017, books can help you reach your goal. Check out some of these nonfiction titles to help you with your New Year’s resolutions.

Are you determined to shed a few pounds? Eat a little healthier? Eat a lot healthier? Or find new ways to cope with the pain of a chronic illness? Here are some new books our buyers recommend to guide you on your quest to better health and fitness.1-better-year-better-you-books-for-health-fitness

1) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, 2) The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help You Succeed with The Whole30 and Beyond by Melissa Hartwig, 3) Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution by Peter J. D’Adamo and Catherine Whitney, 4) The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole Body Wellness by Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro, 5) The Melt Method: A Breakthrough Self-Treatment System to Eliminate Chronic Pain, Erase the Signs of Aging, and Feel Fantastic in Just 10 Minutes a Day! by Sue Hitzmann and Debbie Karch, 6) Eat Clean Stay Lean: The Diet: Real Foods for Real Weight Loss by Wendy Bazilian. Continue reading

Stuff Your Stockings like Ol’ St. Nick

Could you imagine if your entire Christmas bounty fit into a wooden shoe? Americans tend to view stockings as a fun appetizer to the feast of Christmas presents that follow. But in some countries, the Christmas stocking or clog itself is the main event, staying true to the tradition’s origin.

This ritual is believed to trace back to the German legend of a rich man named Nicholas and a poor widower who couldn’t afford dowries for his three unwed daughters. Wanting to help, Nicholas tossed three bags of gold through an open window at night, which landed in the stockings drying on the fireplace. As the story spread, children began putting out their own stockings or clogs, filled with carrots and hay for Nicholas’ reindeer, waiting for him to replace their bribes with small gifts. Today in America, stockings have become bigger and the contents vary by family tradition — some stuffing them with whimsical toys, while others prefer practical gifts like tube socks.

This year my family will celebrate the season with our first-ever fireplace. And our new mantel is just begging for a row of cheerfully-knit stockings. So naturally, I’m on the prowl for excellent stocking stuffer gift ideas. If you’re on the hunt like me, you’ll appreciate this round up of pocket-sized gift ideas, perfectly suited for stockings for all ages. Best of all, you can find them all at Half Price Books and it won’t break the bank since there are countless gifts under $10. From always-in-style traditional gifts like journals, planners and stationery, to pop-culture hits like comic book figures, keychains, magnets and collectibles.

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What will you fill your stockings with this year?

Celebrating 65 Years of “I Love Lucy” with 10 Iconic On-Screen Lucy Moments

65 years ago today “I Love Lucy” aired it’s first episode.

If you’ve never seen an episode of “I Love Lucy” …then you’ve got some ‘splaying to do! But here are the basics – Starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, the show followed the antics of a mischievous, red-headed housewife who wanted so desperately to be in show business like her husband, Cuban musician Ricky Ricardo.

What you may not know is that “I Love Lucy” was actually based on a radio program from 1948 called “My Favorite Husband” which starred Lucille Ball with actor Dick Denning playing the role of her husband. But when CBS bought the rights to the show, Lucille insisted on recasting her real-life husband Desi in the TV show.

“I Love Lucy” was a pioneer of television sitcoms for many reasons. Lucille Ball paved the way for strong-female leads, producers and comedians for decades that followed her – stars like Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and many more. In it’s day, “I Love Lucy” was also a ground-breaking on social norms, portraying an on-screen interracial marriage, and later an on-screen pregnancy. In fact, the network prohibited the use of the word “pregnant” so the show’s writers used the French word “enceinte.” Continue reading

The Best of Film Legend Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn was a movie star unlike any other, starring in 50 films across seven decades, earning herself 12 Oscar nominations and four wins. You can tell by her portrayal of characters on screen that she herself had a sort of fierceness about her – an undeniable spirit, spunk and wit, an eccentric charm and an air of defiance. She was talented and edgy, playing a range of genres from screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby (1938) to powerful dramas like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Katharine starred opposite some of the great leading men of the Hollywood’s Golden Age (1930s to 1960s), like Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart. She pioneered a path of independence and opportunity for women in Hollywood. In 1991, she released her successful autobiography, simply entitled Me. When she died in 2003 at the age of 96, Katharine left some very large shoes to fill. Katharine remains a hallmark of classic Hollywood cinema.

In celebration of her film legacy (and just in time for the anniversary of her birth on May 12th), here is a must-watch list of Katharine’s finest appearances on the silver screen.

  1. Desk Set (1957)

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