Children have loved Little Golden Books for over 75 years. They have written their names inside each front cover and delighted in the colorful picures and wonderful stories. Thanks to the happy hours spent with each book, many children have developed a lifelong love for reading. Launched in 1942-- the first full year of America's involvement in the Second World War-- Little Golden Books made high-quality illustrated books avaiable at affordable prices for the first time to millions of young children and their parents. Among the artists who contributed to the ambitious series were greats of the European émigré community (including Garth Williams, Feodor Rojankovsky, and Tibor Gergely) who had gathered in New Tork as the European situation worsened; alumni of the Walt Disney Studios (including Gustaf Tenggren, Martin Provensen, J. P. Miller, and Mary Blair); and such American originals as Leonard Weisgard, Eloise Wilkin, Elizabeth Orton Jones, Richard Scarry, and Hilary Knight.
Sixty-five masterpieces of original illustration art by these and other artists—chosen from the vast Random House archive—are featured in the exhibition, including art from such picture-book classics as The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, Home for a Bunny, The Kitten who Thought He was a Mouse, The Color Kittens, I Can Fly, and more.
Artists exhibited in the show include: Tibor Gergely, Elizabeth Orton Jones, Eloise Wilkin, Aurelius Battaglia, Sheilah Beckett, Garth Williams, Richard Scarry, Gertrude Elliot, Alice and Martin Provensen, Corinne Malvern, Leonard Weisgard, Jan Pfloog, Feodor Rojankovsky, A.Birnbaum, Mary Blair, Trina Schart Hyman, J.P.Miller, Gustaf Tenggren, Bob Staake, Dan Yaccarino, Hilary Knight, David Diaz, Nicola Slater, Brigette Barrager, and Annie Won.
The exhibit was developed by the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas, in 2007 and updated in 2017.