Several years ago a dear friend gave me a copy of the 1951 Little Golden Book, Ukelele and Her New Doll (#102). The book tells the story of Ukelele of the South Seas who loves the wooden doll her father made her. When British sailors land on her tiny island, one sailor gives her a fancy-dress porcelain doll. Ukelele abandons her wooden doll, but soon learns she can't have the same fun with the delicate porcelain fancy doll and returns to her beloved wooden playmate. Not to get too deep - I love that Ukelele returns to the doll her father carved - and symbolically retains ties to her own culture.
The July 16 issue of Publishers Weekly focuses on Fall 2007 Children's books. There's a excerpt of the upcoming Leonard S. Marcus book, Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way. The book celebrates the 65th anniversary of the Little Golden Books.
After reading this article, I found my copy of Ukelele, which included a 12-piece puzzle (ok - two of my pieces are missing) and re-read it. Still a delight. Then, saw on eBay that there's a pristine copy for sale at $150! I hadn't realized there's an entire collectible market for Little Golden Books - complete with annual price guides compiled by Steve Santi. What childhood would have been like if the 65 year history of Little Golden Books had included positive stories about African Americans - stories beyond Little Black Sambo? What was your favorite LGB?