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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

River Falls Hosts Little Golden Book Show

raccoon drawing from Baby Animals book
From Baby Animals, illustrated by Garth Williams, used by permission, copyright 1952 Penguin Random House
This summer, the River Falls Public Library Gallery will feature an extensive collection of original illustration art from one of American publishing’s best-loved and most consequential picture book lines, Little Golden Books. Not-so-coincidentally, the exhibition also falls on the 75th anniversary of the essential series, which was published in Racine, WI, until 2001.
From June 10 – August 12, 2017, the River Falls Public Library Gallery will display sixty masterpieces of original illustration art by familiar artists and children’s book illustrators. Each featured work was chosen from a vast Random House archive; this exhibit will include pieces from such picture-book classics as The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, Home for a Bunny, The Color Kittens, I Can Fly, and more. The exhibit was curated by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene, Texas.
Illustration of baby holding a doll and looking at a cardinal singing
From Baby Listens, illustration by Esther Wilkins, used by permission, copyright 1960 Penguin Random House

            Launched in 1942—the first full year of America’s involvement in the Second World War—Little Golden Books made high quality illustrated books available 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 √©migr√© community (including Garth Williams, Feodor Rojankovsky, and Tibor Gergely) who had gathered in New York 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.
            Golden Books and Random House Children’s Books are also celebrating the anniversary with the re-release of the complete retrospective history of the beloved line:  GOLDEN LEGACY: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way by Leonard S. Marcus.  Golden Legacy is the untold history of the company, its line of books, and the groundbreaking writers and artists who created them. 
Illustration of a young girl holding a doll and a young boy getting ready to put a bandage on it
From Doctor Dan the Bandage Man, illustration by Corinne Malvern, used by permission, copyright 1950 Penguin Random House

            The Golden Books exhibit at the River Falls Public Library Gallery is open to the public and always free-of-charge beginning June 10. The gallery, located in the lower level of the River Falls Public Library at 140 Union Street in River Falls, Wisconsin, is open Monday through Thursday from 10AM to 8PM, Fridays from 10AM to 6PM, and Saturdays from 10AM to 4PM.  
            Through this exhibition, the River Falls Public Library Gallery strives to educate children and families about illustrated literature and celebrate the best original art published in children’s books. Join gallery staff and community partners for a series of related events for young children to seniors throughout the summer. For more information on the River Falls Public Library Gallery and free summer events, stop in to the River Falls Public Library, visit http://www.riverfallspubliclibrary.org/in-the-gallery or call 715-426-3496. 

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