Book Review: Everything I need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow

Available in bookstores. A current top-10 bestseller.

This book is a well-published gift book which has moments of warmth and humour. cv_everything_I_need_to_know

Diane Muldrow is a long-time editorial director at Golden Books, and has written many children’s books herself. Her preface delineates her market: ‘Our chickens have come home to roost, and their names are Debt, Depression, and Diabetes.’ She goes on to wonder how we got so off track, earmarking favourite characters like Scuffy the Tugboat, or the Poky Little Puppy, as she writes.

I will be honest and say that a few of the points of advice (as well as the preface) made me cringe. The book assumes that everybody does the same thing – grows up, gets married, has a family. It also, perhaps due to the different eras the images necessarily come from, assumes that mum stays home and does the vacuuming in a nice dress. While I understand it is meant to be warm and humorous, it just seemed a bit too sincere to be read this way. I did love the golden books as a child, and I read them to my children, but the advice in this book was off the mark for me. ‘Sweatpants are bad for morale. Put on something nice!’

For all this, the selection of images in compliment to the advice is very well done. Seeing my old friends the Colour Kittens and Mister Dog used to demonstrate certain pieces of advice is neat. I particularly like the spread of Chicken Little, used to illustrate ‘Steer clear of shady characters’ – with the fox waiting behind a tree ahead.

While I don’t get the joy that many other reviewers have gleaned from this book, its charm speaks louder than the words inside.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

Everything I need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book
by Diane Muldrow
Published by Little Golden Books (Random House)
ISBN 9780307977618

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