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  • jtbelangela

Ode to Little Golden Books

As I navigated the aisles of a big-box store with my daughter today, something I haven't seen in a long time caught my eye -- Little Golden Books. Little Golden Books are near and dear to this girl's heart. They've been around forever ... over seventy years. Think of all the children who grew up on those books from their inception in the 40s, through the crazy 70s and 80s, right up to today. That’s a big impact from something so little and so golden.

There endless options to choose from: Tawny Scrawny Lion, The Poky Little Puppy, Scuffy the Tugboat, Tootle, and my personal favorite, The Golden Egg Book. I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for a bunny story, but this one had me hook, line and sinker from the front cover depicting a cute little bunny in a strawberry patch. For those not in the know, the story follows the adventure of said bunny who finds not only a “mysterious” egg, but a best friend as well. (Go ahead … try looking at the final illustration of a hugging duck and bunny without a lump in your throat.)

Actually, all the illustrations in The Golden Egg Book are superb, and I don’t say that because I love all things vintage. These are more than just drawings to accompany the text, this is art that’s downright frame-worthy In addition to those beautiful illustrations, each book had a sturdy cardboard front and back that were indestructible unless you got it wet, heavy-weight pages,

and of course, the glimmering gold spine.

When I was a little girl growing up in the Bronx, a cornerstone of our neighborhood was the local mom and pop pharmacy adjacent to our church. It was a small store, but it was packed! In addition to a full-service pharmacy run by a real person who knew your name, your family and your medical history, it had just about anything you needed in a pinch. There was a rounder of greeting cards, a nice assortment of candy, shelves of pretty perfumes and potions, and my personal favorite—the book rounder just off the entrance. The book rounder may have been small, but there was always something fantastic there. Whether you wanted a coloring book, a search-a-word, or Little Golden Book, you just spun the rack and put your hand right on it. Needless to say, I happily accompanied anyone in my family who was headed to the pharmacy.

When I had my own kids, I made sure they had Little Golden Books. My son was partial to The Fire Engine and The Happy Man and His Dump Truck, while my daughter favored The Bunny Book. It warmed my heart to see them enjoying something from my childhood. (And the quiet as they read didn’t hurt either.) So here’s a big shout out to Little Golden Books, still going strong and entertaining children after all these years. Now, If only I could head down to that pharmacy and spin the rack, today would have been epic indeed.