Little Golden Books are little books intended for young children who've just learned to read, or to be read to children who have not yet learned to read. Their spines are covered with gold-colored reflective paper, which is great for brand identification. Speaking only for myself, I thought it was really neat-o when I was young enough to take an interest in these things.
LGB's were first published in 1942, and sold for twenty-five cents apiece. They're American. In those days, they addressed crucial childhood issues such as animals, cowboys, fire engines, and the circus. In days now almost forgotten, the Golden Books corporation was home to figures such as Garth Williams and Margaret Wise Brown. More recently, Golden Books have matured and they now tend to focus on teaching children important life skills such as recognizing the Disney™ logo and the all-important "™" symbol itself. Disney's valuable Pooh franchise is well-represented. For the devoted co-branding enthusiast, cartoon representations of the highly successful Muppets franchise are also available.
A half-hour of Googling around failed to dig up much information on the history of Golden Books, but we found ubiquitous evidence of a thriving market in old Golden Books as "collectibles", on eBay and elsewhere. When properly priced, indexed, and hermetically sealed in plastic in a cool, dry, dark place, Golden Books will continue to provide the children of America with great joy for many years to come.
Golden Books Family Entertainment, Inc. still exists as of December 2001, and may be found on the World Wide Web at http://shop.store.yahoo.com/goldenbooks/. A look at the copyright, trademark and licensing page enlightens us greatly: We find that Shari Lewis Entertainment, Inc. (owners of the Lamb Chop franchise) is a subsidiary of Golden Books. We also find that Disney seem somehow to have dug their claws into the rights to Tarzan.
Okay, I'll stop smirking over the word "franchise" now. I really liked Little Golden Books when I was four years old. They were one of those seemingly immutable fixtures of childhood, like Ovaltine and cinnamon toast and Radio Flyers and Daddy shooting the TV when Bobby Kennedy came on.