Friday, July 22, 2011

Golden Years

Reason #485 why I love Wisconsin - the former Western Publishing out of Racine!

If you don't know what Western Publishing is known for, you will when I mention the Little Golden Books.  Those of you who are of a certain age and grew up in the upper two-thirds of North America are probably familiar with these wonderful books.  For many of us, these were the first books we read - The Pokey Little Puppy, The Little Red Hen, Bedtime Stories - all Golden books.  Western also owned Whitman Publishing, which printed many comic books and coloring books you may remember as a kid (more of each of those in later posts!).

Those are all well and good, but my favorite subsidiary of the former Western Publishing has to be the Golden Guides. 

I actually didn't become familiar with the Golden Guides until I began working at Waldenbooks (soon to be obsolete itself!) back in 1998.  I don't know HOW these escaped my radar because I've always been a categorizer and a lover of anything encyclopedic.

Look at how wonderful these little guides are!  There are so many from which to choose and I love them all, even if the subject doesn't interest me.  Even though there were different editions that came out over the years they always maintained their late-50s look.  Oh, how I ADORE the Futura font and these guides are silly with it. The illustrations are the best part, though - regular and detail pictures of trees, mammals, fish, birds, fossils, sea creatures - all sorts of wildlife.  It's like reading a film strip - the only thing missing is the record with the *beep*!

Alas, Golden Guides was bought out by St. Martin's Press in 2001.  Thankfully, they've maintained their look - I guess St. Martin's knows enough that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  :D  They do have a touch of "remember when" to the guides now, as if to say, "We know you just bought this guide for the nostalgic factor and you're going to use your iPhone apps when you really need to identify a certain object or plant, but isn't it a nice stroll down memory lane?".  Then again, that could be me projecting my own feelings about the buyout.

Regardless of who owns them, I LOVE using them in my artwork!  Here are a few examples:


  1. Awesome! I look for the 'guide books' all the time at book sales. They are so nicely illustrated.

  2. I agree, Dianne! LOVE those illustrations! :D