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Most of us have fond memories of Little Golden Books — either having someone read them to us or reading them to our children or other relatives. Publisher Simon and Schuster began the series on October 1, 1942 with 12 titles — including the now-iconic The Poky Little Puppy. Ownership of the series changed several times over the decades — and in 2001 Random House acquired Little Golden Books for $85 million.

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When Little Golden Books celebrated its golden anniversary in 1992, 500 million of its volumes were in circulation. Over the years, Little Golden Books have remained virtually identical in appearance  — The Pokey Little Puppy still looks the same as when it arrived over 70 years ago.

In the above photo from the late 1940s, Marilyn Monroe reads the Little Golden Book TOYS by Edith Osswald to a friend’s child. If you are familiar with Monroe’s upbringing and orphanhood, this photo is quite touching. A copy of the original 1945 edition of TOYS is for sale on ebay for $50.