I've been doing the 7 day book challenge on Facebook. But I've been wanting to tell you about these books anyway. Since I had to hunt them up to get the picture for FB, it was a good day to put them here too.
First of all, I guess this post is going to include a little bragging. At least I think that's how some people will see it. For me, it's just a fact, although I quickly learned that it was a fact that made me lots different from everyone else my age.
Here is the set of books, a children's encyclopedia called The Child's World.
They were published in 1950, and I was given the set in 1952, when I was 4 years old.
The first volume is "Stories of Childhood." I'm including one picture from each volume. There were various types of illustrations. I've pictured an example of most kinds. Some of the pages had full color pictures. This was a delightful story about a horse that wouldn't go anywhere without its favorite hat. But there were a lot of traditional familiar stories as well.
Volume 2 is "People and Great Deeds." This is basically history. Here is a page from the story of Sacajawea.
Next was "Plant and Animal Ways." So here we introduce biology. There are lots of color pictures of various kinds of birds, mammals, insects reptiles, and various kinds of plants, in addition to all the black and white illustrations. Almost every spread has some illustration. I chose a picture of a map that shows migratory bird routes.
Volume 4 is "The World and its Wonders." This includes all sorts of science lessons. Each book has a number of full-color plates of extraordinary detail. I'm showing you one from this volume because I think I spent more time studying this picture than any other in the entire set of books. I was amazed at everything that went on inside one thin leaf.
Next is "Countries and their Children," which is cultural studies. It takes the reader to places around the world showing how people live and play, their art and customs. Here is a photo of Asian art works.
Volume 6 was for the parents, but I read it anyway. It's called "Mother's Guide." It's basically a guide to child rearing.
OK, here's the odd fact. I could read when I was two. I was already tired of Golden Books by the time I was 4.
Now for a story. I remember the day Granny brought me these books. I remember sitting on the floor and reading. The part I do not remember is my mother's perspective. She told me this long after I was grown. Apparently, they could not get me away from those books. I read for hours and hours and would not even stop to eat lunch.
I do know that I enjoyed reading these books on my own for several more years, and I also liked having them read to me because I could ask more questions that the articles didn't answer.
Gotta admit... I teared up a little bit at getting these books out and looking through them. These are probably the most influential books of my childhood.