Initially, the books were sold in five and dime, grocery, and drug stores for 25 cents each. Of course, stimulating an interest in reading was one of the main purposes of the series which became wildly popular. But publishers also were credited with pushing " a democratization of education for the 20th Century."
Unlike previous children's books, the series didn't focus exclusively on nursery rhymes and fairy and folk tales. Instead, many of the stories concentrated on everyday life. One expert in literature for the young said the books featured stories that would giving "little grownups" a glimpse of "the duties of caring for home and the everyday family," promote the cultural norms of the 1950's, and create active citizens.
|Doctor Dan and Nurse Nancy|
And now the books, originally published in a partnership between Simon and Schuster and Western Printing and Lithographing Company in Racine, Wisconsin, have officially been declared a piece of history. An exhibition detailing the story of the 65-year old series is now on display at the National Museum of American History.
The exhibition features some of 500 original illustrations, books, coloring books, and puzzles that the Smithsonian received from the Western Printing firm in 1992.
Little Golden Books has been a financial success. More than a billion and half books have been sold. Of course, that 25-cent price tag is now history. Today, the books cost $3.59 on Amazon.
But some things haven't changed. For example, The Pokey Little Puppy, which was one of the first 12 titles published, is essentially the same story that appeared in 1947. And it has proven to be extremely popular. Officials say more than 15 million copies of the book have been sold, making it the most popular title in the series.
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