A Little Bit on Collecting Little Golden Books

In 1942 Simon and Schuster published the first dozen titles in Little Golden Books (LGB) series. They were priced at about 25 cents, marketed to department stores, and as an alternative to the more expensive children’s books, which at the time cost 2 to 3 dollars, were immediately popular.


There are those for whom collecting Little Golden Books is a passion, and I’ve discovered to my disappointment that the Little Golden Book collectors, like series book collectors, are not really interested in collecting outside of their area of interest. However there are some authors and even more illustrators that were published by Little Golden Books that went on to gain more mainstream popularity. There are non LGB collectors that are looking for the LGB publications by their favorite author or illustrator.

So no matter whether it is an out of print bookstore or a booth at an antique mall, I always take the time to go through the stacks of LGB to look for the following authors and illustrators:

  • Margaret Wise Brown of Good Night Moon fame published 6 or so LGB
  • Garth Williams the illustrator of Charlotte’s Web, illustrated many LGB
  • Elizabeth Orton Jones, who won the 1945 Caldecott has at least one LGB
  • Alice and Martin Provensen (illus and later authors) Caldecott and Newbury Award Winners!
  • Charlotte Zolotow (author)
  • Feodor Rojankovsky (illus)
  • Leonard Wiesgard (illus)
  • Trina Schart (Hyman) (illus)
  • Clement Hurd (illus)

Mr. Dog Little Golden BooksThis checklist is by no means complete and is most definitely not definitive; there are collected authors and illustrators that I know I’ve missed. Also not included are the illustrators, most notably Eloise Wilkin, who did primarily LGB illustrations. This is just a quick list generally made up of illustrators or authors that I have non LGB collectors looking for.

by Dana Richardson of Windy Hill Books| more of Dana’s articles can be seen here

Good luck in your own travails collecting Little Golden Books, it will surely be quite rewarding. If you’re already collecting Little Golden Books then by all means share some stories with us.

Here is a Little Golden Books complete list of the first batch of books printed in 1942

The Poky Little Puppy
Three Little Kittens
Bedtime Stories
The Alphabet A-Z
Mother Goose
Prayers for Children
The Little Red Hen
Nursery Songs
The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
Baby’s Book
The Animals of Farmer Jones
This Little Piggy

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16 thoughts on “Do you collect (or stock) Little Golden Books?”

  1. Jill,

    Unfortunately my favorite Little Golden Book specialist Rebecca Greason has retired and her Tomarts price guide is long since out of print. I’ll try to get in touch with her and post details on any reference guide she recommends. There is a price guide called Warman’s Little Golden Books Field Guide: Values And Identification by Santi which is still in print. I don’t know this book so I don’t know how detailed he gets about edition identification.

    There is also an online site: http://www.goldenbook.com/ which does discuss some of the point issues of edition identification and also has a question and answer forum which might be help for specific titles.

  2. Nora,

    You are right, Richard Scarry is another LGB author/illustrator. In fact, Scarry got his start with LGB, his first book, TWO LITTLE MINERS was published in 1949. He was with Simon and Schuster for 20 years or so before moving to Random House. I thought of including him in the article and did not only because, like Eloise Wilkin, the collectors I have for his books, seem to be looking for the LGB, not his non LGB titles. Of course I could have just had the wrong books… or maybe priced too high 🙁

  3. I used to love these little books! Didn’t they come in a Happy Meal from McDonalds for a short time? Maybe I am remembering McD’s passing out something else?

    I’m glad you mentioned Margaret Brown – Goodnight Moon continues to be one of my son’s favorite books. We’ve read it to him since birth.

  4. While I agree that points of issue for Little Golden Books are important for the most valuable books, I think there is still a collector’s market for later printings in excellent condition. People who collect particular illustrators often want solid reading copies and/or copies they can give as gifts. I think using a list of authors and/or illustrators is usually as useful as a list of points of issue.

  5. When I was 5, I was given a box set of Golden Books for Christmas. Those were the first books I remember owning. They absolutely hooked me on reading and I’ve been going non-stop ever since. I wonder sometimes if I would be as much of an avid reader now if it weren’t for those books. I posted more about those books over at my blog.

    Suffice it to say, my kids will always be stocked with Little Golden Books.

  6. I love the LGBs and have started finding them to read to my children. I particularly like the older ones (I grew up in the 70s and read a lot of my mother’s old books then, plus a few I got as gifts myself) and my favorite illustrator is Eloise Wilkins. Is there anywhere that has a complete list of the ones that she did? Also, how do I find out what other books she did besides the LGB as I would certainly be interested in those as well. I also like Garth Williams as I love the Little House book series, which I am also introducing to my children now. Is there a list of all the books he has illustrated? I think it would also be nice to have just a listing of all the LGB books published over time (by year would be great) but don’t know if there is such a thing. Any help anyone can give to a fledgling collector would be wonderful! Thank you!

    P.S. Some of my all-time favs are Animal Counting Book (illus by Moritz Kennel), We Like Kindergarten (illus by E. Wilkin), Sam the Firehouse Cat (illus by Virginia Parsons), etc. 😉

  7. How much would you pay for these books:
    The night before Christmas 2
    The Christmas story
    Mickey’s Christmas Carol 2
    Ghost ship
    The road runner
    Animal dictionary
    Alice Wonderland
    Pinocchio
    Dumbo
    Dr. Ruth grandmas on wheels
    Frosty the Snowman
    101 Dalmatian snow puppies
    Winnie the Pooh
    The velveteen rabbit
    Quickdraw McGraw
    Peter Pan
    Beauty and the beast
    Mickey and the beanstalk
    Rumpelstiltskin
    The Pokey Little puppy
    Mother goose
    Bugs Bunny and the healthy hog
    Tawny scrawny lion
    Ratatouille
    The good humor man
    What will I be
    I can’t wait until Christmas
    Cinderella
    Bert hall of great invention
    The golden egg
    Lions mixed up
    We help mommy
    The gull that lost the sea
    Three bedtime stories
    Mickey Mouse the Kitten sitter
    The friendly book
    What’s up in the attic
    Snow White and the seven dwarves
    Coming all the way to Sesame Street
    Just a bad day
    Just a little different
    Thomas and the great discovery
    Winnie the Pooh and the honey tree
    Tickle me
    Eeyore , be happy 2
    The little word book
    Red hat green hat
    My Christmas treasury
    King of the beasties

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