Under Cover: Little Golden Books

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LittleGoldenBook1979Who doesn’t fondly remember their set of Little Golden Books?

Just thinking of the small volumes with their golden-bound spines, adorned with animals and flowers, is like taking a trip back to childhood. In fact, it’s quite possible that these unassuming little books are responsible for the reader I am today.

In my case, when I was a young girl, just learning to read, I had an illness that kept me sequestered in my room for two weeks, cut off from the rest of the family, and the television. Already a lover of books, I stacked my nightstand high with a treasure trove of Little Golden Books, determined to learn how to read them on my own.

Armed with stubbornness, and a whole lot of free time, I did learn how to read those books, spending the fortnight with “The Poky Little Puppy” “Tawny, Scrawny Lion,” and “Scuffy the Tugboat.”

Friends such as “Cinderella,” and “Hansel and Gretel,” along with “The Three Little Kittens,” and “The Saggy, Baggy Elephant,” filled the long boring hours of seclusion. Without those Golden Books, and my View-Master, I likely would have lost my young mind.

My favorite title, however, was “Where Did the Baby Go?’ in which a little girl finds a photo of a baby, and sets out to find where it went. She searches the whole house, behind curtains, and in closets, trying to find the baby.

Spurred on by clues from her mother, she ultimately discovers that the reason she can’t find the baby is because that baby grew up into a little girl…who she can find, simply by looking in the mirror.monsterattheend1

Surely, I am not the only one whose childhood memories are populated with these characters, brought to life in humble little books, which were the mainstay of so many libraries. In fact, the Little Golden Book collection is celebrating its 75th anniversary, a testament to how beloved they have been by the generations who have enjoyed them, passing them down through the years, to be cherished by new sets of children.

To commemorate the occasion, Barnes and Noble in Fashion Island will host a special story time devoted to all things Golden Book.

On Saturday, March 25, at 11 a.m., young readers, and their parents, are invited to celebrate their love of reading with a 75th anniversary party. At the event, children will be able to create their own Little Golden Book, as well as enjoy readings of classic titles.

One such title will be “The Monster at the End of this Book,” in which popular Sesame Street character, Grover, exhorts readers NOT to make it to the end of the book, as a monster resides on the last page. Another volume from my youth, this is a fun read-aloud, with Grover trying everything to convince the reader to quit turning pages. He builds a brick wall, nails down boards, and even glues the pages together, (all expressed through illustration,) as he attempts, in vain, to stop the reader from reaching the end of the book.

monsterUpon reaching the last page, despite much wailing and gnashing of teeth on Grover’s part, we discover that the monster is actually Grover himself. While intended to be a fun, engaging read, the story also shows youngsters that in facing their fears, they will often discover that all is well, and that seemingly large worries can be conquered.

While my children have grown past this stage, and our collection of Little Golden Books now sits on a shelf, ready to again be passed down, parents of young children, or those who just fancy a walk down memory lane are sure to enjoy the opportunity to revisit these beloved titles, making a trip to the bookstore a perfect Saturday activity.

Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected]

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