Thursday, June 11, 2009

top 10 - or is that 20? - Little Golden Books

I grew up with Little Golden Books. I had a pile of golden-edged books dog-eared with love, and a wonderful collection of them called "Storyland" which fell apart through over-use. Now my son Andrew (2) adores them.

Here's what you've all been waiting for: the results of the in all honesty Little Golden Books quiz, and my top 10 Little Golden Books of all time!

I've added a few more to make it a top 20. Well, I couldn't leave any out, could I?

1. I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss. A child's imagination comes to life as she hoots like an owl, swims like a fish, and gubbles like a mubble in a pubble (as you do).

2. The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter. Always overlooked, the little red caboose saves the train, and learns it's just as good to be a caboose as a coal truck or even an engine.
3. The Colour Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown. The story of two colour-loving kittens, their search for green, and how they create every colour in the world.
4. The Taxi That Hurried by Lucy Sprague Mitchell. My mum read this as a child. A hurrying, scurrying book - "We're terribly late and the train won't wait" - with pictures of how things used to be.
5. The Friendly Book by Margaret Wise Brown. I love the way the rhymes in this book switch between fun - "Fat dogs / Doggy dogs" - and magical - "A dog that is barking over the hill / A dog that is dreaming very still".

6. Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton. In which an adventurous toy tugboat wants to swim in a river ("I was meant for bigger things!") but discovers that the bathtub is the best place after all.

7. Just for Fun by Patricia Scarry. I discovered this on my mother-in-law's shelves. It reminds kids of all the things they can do with paper bags, boxes, chairs and other household things - "When pots and pans are handy, a big parade is dandy."

8. Little Peewee by JP Miller. A tiny circus dog grows and grows and grows until he has to leave the circus because he's a normal sized dog, until he grows and grows and grows until he's a giant circus dog with a place in the circus after all.

9. Tootle by Gertrude Crampton. Who wouldn't love this story of a free-spirited engine who disobeys the most important rule - "You Must Not Leave the Rails No Matter What" - to race with horses and smell the daisies?

10. The Sailor Dog by Margaret Wise Brown. Cars, trains and submarines won't do for this dog: he was born for the sea. "And here he is where he wants to be, a sailor sailing the deep green sea."

11. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey. A poky little puppy learns that puppies really shouldn't dig under fences and go for walks in the wide, wide world.

12. The Golden Sleepy Book by Margaret Wise Brown. A collection of sleepy stories and poems like "The whispering rabbit", about the yawning bunny who swallows a bee, and "The dreaming bunny", where Bunny No Good dreams the day away in a cabbage.

13. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. A LOT of fun, the pictures tell the tale as Grover plunges through wooden barriers, brick walls and other obstacles to discover the monster at the end of the book. Do you dare to turn the next page?

14. The Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn Jackson. A little elephant wanders through the jungle calling himself "Sooki" because he has no idea what he is, and escapes tigers, lions and teasing parrots to discover he's part of a great, big, wonderful family of elephants.
15. Ukelele and her New Doll by Clara Louise Grant. This was in my collection, but I've only just discovered how beautiful it is thanks to Nicole G. The story of an island girl who's given a new china doll by a sailor, but who loves her old wooden doll best.

16. Mister Dog: The Dog Who Belonged to Himself by Margaret Wise Brown. Crispin's Crispian, so called because "he belongs to himself", discovers a boy who also belongs to himself, and they decide to belong to each other.

17. Animal Friends by Jane Werner. A kitten, rabbit, dog, bird, squirrel and chick discover that they weren't made to live together - but they find some homes just right for them.

18. The Marvellous Merry-Go-Round by Jane Werner. A boy grows up to create a marvellous merry-go-round with real animals on it, painted to look like wooden ones. Who knows the animals are really alive? Only the children who ride on them.
19. The Train to Timbuctoo by Margaret Wise Brown. A rollicking tale about a big engine with a big whistle that goes whooooooooooooooooooooooooo and a little engine with a little whistle that goes wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and how they make their way clackety clack - clickety click from Kalamazoo to Timbuctoo.
20. Seven Little Postmen by Margaret Wise Brown. A boy posts a letter promising a visit to his grandma and it makes its way via aeroplanes and trains and mail vans and post offices too small to be called post offices to his lonely Grandma's house.
I could keep going, but that's enough nostalgia for one day!

Which Little Golden Books were your favourites?


Meredith said...

Oh dear Jean! I write this comment with tears of joy! You have just solved one of my life's little mysteries. When I was very little I had a Little Golden Book that I LOVED.

One day my best friend had her birthday (we must have been only six or seven) and in an act of extreme generosity and sacrifice I gave her my copy of this book. I remember my mum asking me if I was sure about giving it away...

And I lived to regret it! I missed my book terribly (but knew not to ask for it back) and then my friend moved away and I never saw her again!

At odd times the memory of that book has popped into my mind. The details of the story are hazy. And I have often wondered what the title was. And wondered whether my friend cherished the gift of that book. The memory always brings with it a tiny pang of heartache. I know, I know, it's only a Little Golden Book but...

You don't know the answer to the question about whether this gift was cherished. But you have given me the answer to the first question. Because one of the details I can remember was that the dog's name was Crispin's Crispian.

I am going to have to go on a hunt to find a copy of "Mr Dog: the Dog who Belonged to Himself."

Deep sigh!

And I may have to find "The Colour Kittens" while I am at it - as this became my replacement favourite - and was borrowed permanently by one of my school children in my first year of teaching. (Note to self...don't bring your favourite childhood books to school!)

Thankyou for the memories. The quest begins!

Jean said...

Meredith, that was beautiful!

Let the quest begin indeed!

You won't have any trouble finding those two titles in a book shop or online. Just as well you didn't fall in love with the out of print ones!!

Valori said...

Hey Jean! I have commented in awhile (been a little busy these days!), but I just had to comment on the Little Golden Books :). I have been reading to my 5 year-old from the Golden Book treasury book that Sonlight offers, and while the stories are good, I do prefer the regular books with all of the pictures. I think my absolute favorite is The Whispering Rabbit, by Margaret Wise Brown. I loved reading that to all of my boys. I also like Bow Wow! Meow! A First Book of Sounds. The Golden Book Three Little Kittens is also cute. Well, I'd better get back to work, but if I think of any others, I'll let you know :).

Jean said...

Lovely to hear from you Valori. Yes, I love "The whispering rabbit" too - the only reason it's not on my list is that it is on my list, in "The sleepy book"!! But we have a separate copy at our house.

Miranda said...

We still read our very worn copy of "The Seven Little Postmen" quite regularly - "the mail must go through"! I also like "We help Daddy", mainly because it is so dated and stereo-typed that it's funny. Mummy spends all day in the kitchen while Daddy smokes a pipe on every page.

Jean said...

I nearly included "Fix it, please" in my list for similar reasons!! - Mummy fixes clothes and sore knees, Daddy fixes furniture and replaces care tyres. I remember loving it as a child.