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Tom Mason

Professional Children's Books Expert

New Golden Classics

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Launched in the 1942s, Little Golden Books were hardbound, sturdy books with a strip of golden foil down the spine. They pop from a bookshelf and you know one the second you see it. Fortunately, Random House is still turning out new ones!

Little Golden Books may be the best-selling children’s book series of all time. They’ve sold over two billion total copies – individual titles have sold as many as fifteen million copies or more. Fortunately, they are still being published today. To go along with classics like “The Poky Little Puppy” and “Tootle the Train,” the newer ones tie-in to current movies or TV shows, a few are updates of classic books with more current language and illustrations, and still others are terrific originals. All have the potential to be enjoyed for generations to come, just like their predecessors! Let’s check the bookshelf…

Best Classic Little Golden Books of Tomorrow by Tom Mason

The Best You Can Get

  • I'm a Truck

    Tom says: How-dee! Big Blue Bill is a truck and he has to make a long haul across the country to deliver his goods to a waiting ship. Along the way, he encounters his friends – other trucks, machines, and vehicles doing their jobs as well. Told in the first person, Shealy’s story harkens back to other classic Little Golden Books with an “insider’s” look at someone’s job. The dynamic art by Staake is retro-inspired and fun with sharp angles and bright colors reminiscent of a 1950s animated cartoon. Each page is a visual feast of trucks, roads, and buildings and the story reads like a cross-country adventure.


    • by Dennis Shealy and Bob Staake
    • Today’s Lesson: Work!
    • Trucks!
    • Published in 2006
  • Jack-Jack Attack

    Tom says: As anyone who’s watched the animated film “The Incredibles” knows, Jack-Jack is no ordinary baby. He’s the infant son of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl and he has super-powers too! In “Jack-Jack Attack,” he playfully unleashes his powers on the unsuspecting babysitter who learns to cope with her active charge. After all, she has her own powers: those of a highly-adaptive babysitter! Based on the short film written by “The Incredibles” creator Brad Bird and adapted with zippy energy by Mark Andrews and Krista Swager, the story stands alone without any prior knowledge of either the short or the original film. Artist Tony Fucile’s loose lines have the comic energy and style of an animated film and he thoroughly captures the frustrations and ultimate triumph of Kari the babysitter as well as the on-the-go adventures of baby Jack-Jack. It’s as fun to look at as it is to read.


    • by Mark Andrews & Krista Swager and Tony Fucile
    • Today’s Lesson: Babysitting 101
    • “The Incredibles” tie-in
    • Published in 2006
  • Little Golden Picture Dictionary

    Tom says: Bob Staake strikes again in this beautifully designed update of a classic LGB. Diane Muldrow makes both the language and the reference points more contemporary and relatable to today’s kids. She runs through multiple words for most letters – “x” only gets “X-ray” - and their descriptive uses which are then boldly and brightly illustrated by Staake, showcasing the word being used. Only an illustrator of his caliber can make words like “apron” and “vest” look like fun. At five words to a page, they go through 115 of them. It’s a fun, simple read where children can learn through repetition and example.


    • by Diane Muldrow and Bob Staake
    • Today’s Lesson: Words
    • And Pictures!
    • Published in 2002
  • Come Back, Zack!

    Tom says: A charming rhyming story follows Zack as he chases one thing and then another as members of his large and somewhat exasperated family urge him to “Come back, Zack!” With each scene Zack gets a little older, growing from baby to school-age. This is a fun read-aloud book with colorful, detailed artwork.


    • by Trish Holland and Sachiko Yoshikawa
    • Today’s Lesson: Growing Up
    • Published in 2008
  • Lasso the Moon

    Tom says: A wonderfully inventive bedtime story about a cowboy and cowgirl and their imaginary adventures in the sky, rounding up stray stars, hitching their chuck wagon to a comet’s tail, and lassoing the moon to light their way home. Trish Holland’s rhyming blend of cowboy slang and the night sky succeeds in this low-key bedtime tale. Valeria Petrone’s art captures the airborne cowhands on their nighttime round-up in a fun way that will have every kid wanting their own flying pony.


    • by Trish Holland and Valeria Petrone
    • Today’s Lesson: Bedtime Story
    • Cowboys and Cowgirls
    • Published in 2005

You will be happy with any of these

  • The Monster at the End of this Book

    Tom says: Hurry! Quick! There's a monster at the end of this book! That’s the warning from none other than Grover, the furry blue Muppet from “Sesame Street.” He comically pleads with the reader to stop turning the pages of his book because there's a monster at the end. As your curiosity gets the better you, you keep turning and Grover keeps telling you to stop, growing more frantic with each turn of the page. Written by Jon Stone, a “Sesame Street” veteran, this is a delightfully different and original story that’s also very funny as Grover’s pleading builds to a comic crescendo. The text is not typeset but hand-lettered in comic strip-style word balloons, which gives Grover’s pleas both a playful and urgent quality. It’s a great book to read aloud. Mike Smollin's cartooning is bright and colorful. His shaggy and enthusiastic line captures Grover's expressive TV personality and keeps you turning the pages until you discover the big surprise at the end. When this book was originally released, it sold more than two million copies in its first year and is still in print.


    • by Jon Stone and Mike Smollin
    • Today's lesson: Curiosity
    • “Sesame Street” tie-in
    • Published in 1971
  • Your Friend the Rat

    Tom says: This is one of the best examples of how to take a movie tie-in book and make it lots of fun. This is not an adaptation of the Pixar movie “Ratatouille”; it’s actually an adaptation of the accompanying short film (also called “Your Friend the Rat”), and according to animation historian Jerry Beck at cartoonbrew.com, the short is an homage to animator Ward Kimball’s educational Disney work. There’s no narrative structure here, just a lively and informative book of rat-facts leading to one all-important conclusion: the importance of the pesky rodents in the grand scheme of things, at least from their perspective! In other words, don’t fear the rat, says the rat, embrace him. The book is illustrated by ten artists who appear to be having a blast designing their pages. If you haven’t seen the movie or the short, don’t worry. The book can be enjoyed all by itself!


    • by Jim Capobianco and Various Artists
    • Today’s Lesson: Rats are our friends
    • “Ratatouille” tie-in!
    • Published in 2007
  • Richard Scarry's Best Little Word Book Ever

    Tom says: The late Richard Scarry built an empire of children's entertainment and with good reason: he's terrific. “The Best Little Word Book Ever" pares down a larger book into the LGB format. It features his classic characters like Huckle and Lowly Worm as they go to the places a child might visit: downtown, the airport, the grocery store or a farm. Objects are identified at each location: cockpit, stoplight, cash register. There’s no narrative here, so you can skip around as kids learn the proper names for the things they see. Every page is packed with different objects, all illustrated with Scarry’s simple line drawings. Kids will have a great time finding and identifying everything and can also have a lot of fun playing “Where’s Lowly Worm?” He’s usually hiding on every page.


    • by Richard Scarry
    • Today’s Lesson: Words
    • Huckle!
    • Published in 1991
  • Mater and the Ghost Light

    Tom says: Just as “Your Friend the Rat” is based on the short film that ties-in with Pixar’s “Ratatouille”, “Mater And The Ghost Light” is based on the short film that ties-in with Pixar’s “Cars”. Mater is the tow truck who loves to play practical jokes on the other vehicles in Radiator Springs. When a “ghost light” chases him around the town and the surrounding desert, he finally gets the tables turned on him by his friend Lightning McQueen. This is a terrific spooky story for kids that is leavened with good humor. The artwork has a slick feel that is similar in style to the CGI graphics of the movie. Well done all around!


    • by Andrea Posner-Sanchez and Bud Lackey & Dominique Louis
    • Today’s Lesson: Karma
    • “Cars” Movie Tie-in!
    • Published in 2006
  • How the Zebra Got Its Stripes

    Tom says: At the local watering hole, Professor Pinstripe asks various animals if they know how the zebras got their stripes. Each has a different and funny tale to tell: it’s everything from torn shadows to spilled paint. The story is briskly paced with a lot of opportunity for funny voices when reading it aloud. At the end, the authors have included a few pages of actual zebra facts that are equally entertaining (and true). Grosshauser draws all the animals with comic exuberance and his zebras burst with personality. It may not be Rudyard Kipling, but it’s still fun.


    • by Justine & Ron Fontes and Peter Grosshauser
    • Today’s Lesson: Animal Planet
    • Zebras!
    • Published in 2003

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