Eric_W's Reviews > Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way

Golden Legacy by Leonard S. Marcus
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Jul 26, 09

bookshelves: history-historiography
Read in July, 2009

My wife (the children's author and illustrator) was reading this book and laid it on the bed. I happened to see a couple of illustrations and I was hooked. This book will drive you into the depths of nostalgia like nothing else. Gorgeous covers -- you can skim most of the text, which while interesting, relates to a lot of the business aspects of Golden Books -- of all those books we loved and treasured as children. Remember The Color Kittens and The Poky Little Puppy? Golden Books created a sensational business model that sold thousands of books at very inexpensive prices in supermarkets and began careers for many illustrators like Richard Scarry and the Provensons. At one point they were so successful that the Little Fat Policeman was given to every rookie NYPD cop in their orientation packet in the fifties.

By the late nineties, however, a company that had enthralled two generations of children was on hard times and subject to takeover bids and buyouts. A desperate attempt was made to capture the school market with the Road-to-Reading series (my wife's Little Prince Know It All was part of that series although she did not illustrate that title.) Unfortunately, when Random House took over the remnants of Golden Books they discontinued that series and replaced it with their own. (The conspiratorialists among us would argue they did it to eliminate competition. Whatever.)

I remember loving Golden Books as a child. My kids did, too. I remember Marc, now thirty and always a stickler for detail, pointing out a mistake. "But Dad, it says he hit his finger." The illustration showed a banged up thumb.

You will love this book.
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