As Golden Books celebrates its 75th Anniversary, Pat Yannarella, the Main Library’s branch manager, talks about her enjoyment of the series. Since she enjoyed them as a child, her sons liked them when they were young, and the books bring back good memories, Pat collects the books. They are also small, which makes it an easy collection to store. Her grandmother used to tell Pat, “Your most important possessions are books.” Descended from a line of teachers, her grandmother taught Pat to read by the time she was three or four and fostered her path to pursuing a teaching career before becoming a librarian.
Pat received her first Golden Books as a child and still has copies with her name written in by her mom. Her all-time favorite is The Pokey Little Puppy, which was one of the first twelve Golden Books printed and one of the best-selling children’s books in the United States. Released in 1942 after the United States entered World War II, Golden Books cost less than other picture books. Sold for 25 cents in 1942, the books “never did get too expensive” according to Pat. She loves the story of The Pokey Little Puppy and owns four copies. One is even a copy withdrawn from the Library. The illustrations of The Pokey Little Puppy are essentially the same since its initial printing. Conversely, she also has several copies of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but the illustrations change with each edition.
The Color Kittens is Pat’s second favorite Golden Book. She has it memorized and loves the story of how the kittens experiment with mixing different colors to before finding the correct mixture for the desired color. Her name is written in her book, but her oldest son wrote his name over hers demonstrating how Golden Books have been treasured by several generations in last 75 years.
Another of Pat’s favorites is Three Little Kittens. Ever the animal lover, Pat enjoys the cute kittens in the story. She also enjoys Bedtime Stories and Scruffy the Tugboat, but does not care for the ones pushing a message such as in We Help Mommy. Pat always felt the Golden Books were a nice series and appreciates how topics popular with kids such as Thomas the Train or Dora the Explorer are incorporated. According to Children’s Literature Historian, Leonard Marcus, the editors of Golden Books made a conscious effort to publish books with themes children cared about including Disney characters or adventures such as the first day of school.
As a mom, Pat remembers reading The Country Mouse and the City Mouse and religious themed Golden Books such as Prayers for Children and Jonah and the Whale to her boys. Although her grandkids were more interested in Dr. Seuss, Pat hopes to someday share Golden books with her great-grandkids.
Her collecting continues as she looks for books she does not have or ones that have changed their illustrations over the years. In commemoration of its 75thAnniversary, Golden Books has released a few titles including The Paper Doll Wedding, reprinted from 1954 initial release, and Manners by Margaret Wise Brown, published for the first time. Both titles are now part of Pat’s collection.
Golden Books from Pat’s collection are on display at the Walton branch until the end of May 2017.
Kate Sowada is the Community Events Liaison at Boone County Public Library. Her enthusiasm for community engagement and development can be traced back to her experience volunteering as a teenager. Studying Geography in college, working with public art projects during grad school and facilitating statewide outreach programs are a few of the community oriented adventures that led her to Boone County Public Library where she is excited about engaging the people of Boone County and broader Northern Kentucky region through library programs and events.