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The new series, “A Little Golden Book Biography” is such a wonderful series. Each book uses the beloved familiar format to tell stories alongside charming — often, vintage style — illustrations. It’s a format even my very young children know and love, as do I. Yet, in these cases, instead of telling stories of Poky Little Puppies and Little Engines That Could, this new series tells stories of leaders and celebrities regarded as national treasures today, from Bob Ross and Taylor Swift, to Lucille Ball and Willie Nelson, to George Washington and Dr. Fauci. Even though these books remain as inexpensive as always (often under $6 today) — with the same simple binding as in the past — the overall quality of these books is so high that they’re well worth serious consideration for purchase in home, school, and public libraries. Here are a few recent examples that my family is enjoying reading through, again and again, each one an instant classic, even when the subjects are a little surprising!

This charming biography tells the simple story of how Ross learned to paint by watching a TV series featuring a painter who used a wet-on-wet painting approach to complete a painting in a half-hour show, later using the same approach to expand his mall-based painting classes. Could you imagine?! All your questions are answered, including his childhood, the hairstyle, the squirrel, his left index finger, his fandom, and his time in Alaska — leading to all those mountainous scenes covered with happy little trees. From this delightful book, my kids are learning that “You can move mountains. You can do anything.”

This is a delightful biography about a delightful woman, yet the illustrations of her simple, backwoods childhood are the heart of this book, as her songs and dreams play out throughout her life. The artwork is colorful and wonderful, like her singing on the woodpile “stage” as a girl, or meeting her husband on her first day in Nashville, outside the laundromat. The story continues to explain her TV and film career, which led to even more success up until today. There are wonderful insights into her life, such as her appearing on broadcast TV programs before her family even owned a TV set! We love this book and its charming story and artwork!

This would be a wonderful gift for young fans of Beyonce. The book focuses on her career, starting with her dance class teacher noticing that she could sing as well as she could dance. One thing leads to another she and her friends’ talents and fame grows. The book ends with a description of the BeyGood foundation, dedicated to helping build a society where everyone has an opportunity to prosper, just like Beyonce herself. It all takes lots of work, and overcoming setbacks along the way, but the book encourages young girls to set their sights high and get to work, even when that work is dancing and singing.

This biography goes through the onward slope of the Rock’s childhood in Hayward, California, to learning how to wrestle professionally from his father, to appearing in dozens of blockbuster films. It’s a story that shows how it takes hard work to build success in life. I should note that, in what is certainly a first for a Little Golden Book, while it includes pages on things you’d expect, like playing Maui in “Moana,” it also includes things you might not, like his divorce and subsequent remarriage, which may be a plus for young readers who’ve seen people in their lives face divorce. Yet, it may just be disconcerting for others. Either way, this is a well-made Little Golden Book Biography and a must-have for big fans of The Rock.

This larger, Collector’s Edition, has the same kind of binding, vintage illustrations, and simple, engaging storytelling as the smaller versions. This book tells the story of Betty White’s childhood, driving trucks in the Army, and then pursuing a career in the new medium of television. Her hard work appearing on live television, ad-libbing for programming (and commercials!) for hours each day helped her sharpen her wit and scene-stealing delivery. The book also includes her love for animals and related charities, helping readers young and old learn that “Kindness and consideration of somebody besides yourself keeps you feeling young.” It’s fun learning about the early days of television from learning about White’s career, and it’s easy to see why she has been so beloved for so many years.

Of course, the Little Golden Books continue to publish stories about beloved fictional characters, too. Here, an episode recaps the setbacks many of us, and our children, faced in our kids learning to walk. It’s not always a clear, upward path. Readers learn, as Chilli does, we all need to run our own race.

And, as in all of these books, we learn how loving others can help us along as we progress to greater success, whether its learning to walk on our own, to appear on television, to wrestle, to dance, to sing, or to paint. As Bob Ross said, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”