Among my many hobbies and interests, I love juvenile books, especially series. Last weekend, I picked up a couple more additions to the collection. Or is that collections?
Look familiar? Western Publishing took over the rights from Simon & Schuster in the late 1940s or early 1950s, copying the Observer's Books series from Britain. These small books had 160 pages chock full of interesting facts and lovely artwork on subjects from Flowers to Stars, Insects to Rocks & Minerals, Dinosaurs to Birds---and not just from the world of nature, either: travel guides to regions of the country, books about Indian Arts and Architecture, Camping and Guns, Antiques and Exploring Space, Photography and Sports Cars...over 80 subjects in all (compared to the Observer's Books, which numbered nearly 100 titles). Lots of foreign variants, too. There were a number of competitors to this format, both in the US and Britain; Bantam Books had two different lines released in the US, some of which were identical to each other, and Hamlyn released a line of its own in the UK, which copied some of the Bantam editions. Western used the Golden Press imprint (most famous for the Little Golden Books of our youth) to publish the Golden Guides up through the early 1990s. Since 2001, St. Martin's Press has been publishing the Golden Guides, under the Golden Guides name. Dorling Kindersley has a nice, similar series called the Pocket Guides published for both the British and American markets. The one major difference in these companies' products is that they are of different sizes---but they apparently all have 160 pages!