Learning about Love from Little Golden Books

BookendsEverything I NeedCindy: Who doesn’t love Little Golden Books? We remember them being read to us and we remember reading them to little ones ourselves. Just seeing an early Eloise Wilkin or Richard Scarry illustration can wake up the Pokey Little Puppy in all of us. Diane Muldrow revisits those classics and curates them for nostalgic gift books. Just in time for Valentine’s Day is her latest title, Everything I Need to Know about Love I Learned From a Little Golden Book (2015). The endpapers have the same golden pages with the familiar characters and the open-book nameplate that so many of us carefully printed our name on as children to identify the book as our very own. This book opens with a spread from Tootle by Gertrude Crampton (1945) asking:

Is your love life going off the tracks?

After a few pages of sympathy for the lovelorn, there’s an illustration by J. P. Miller from The Musicians of Bremen (1954)  featuring the knife-wielding, tankard-guzzling robbers suggesting that

Perhaps you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places?

You get the idea. After finding true love, the path explores family love, loss of a loved one, and finding love again. There’s something for almost everyone here and the final pages with Garth Williams illustrations from Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (1956) encourage readers to

Be ready to take a chance on love.

There are several other books in this growing series, including a Christmas title. What I am asking myself, is WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THIS? Lynn and I have both read Leonard S.  Marcus’ A Golden Legacy. We have large collections of Little Golden Books from our own childhoods and those of our children. We knew long ago that everything we all need to know can be found in children’s books. We are creative. Dang. I missed another one. Back in Pet Rock1975, my father and I were making dollhouse furniture and accessories to sell during the “miniatures” hobby boom when the Pet Rock was unleashed and went crazy. WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THIS? was our mantra as we watched someone else’s profits pile up. We could have done this. And that, my friends, is the essence of entrepreneurial success. It’s not how easy the idea is to produce—it’s thinking of the idea in the first place and before someone else. I missed another one. Dang.

Lynn: Don’t lose heart, Cindy! There’s that bandwagon tendency in publishing so we might still make this work. How about Tom Swift’s Advice on How to Text? Or The Boxcar Children’s Fast and Easy Ways to Flip Abandoned Properties? Cherry Ames’ 12 Rules for Keeping Your Family Healthy? The possibilities are endless!

Cindy: I like the way you think, Lynn, but don’t publicize all the good ideas before we get an agent!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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