Why? Well, he’s an extremely nice guy, for starters. And he gets paid to read children’s books, review children’s books, and write books about – well, children’s books. As a matter of fact, I think we should make Leonard a job offer – he certainly does fit the profile of the average We Love Children’s Books employee.
Maybe you can tell I just finished reading Golden Legacy, a fantastic coffee table book that Leonard has written for all of us aficionados. It’s fascinating! Clearly he had access to the Golden Books archives – there are many fantastic photographs of the publishers, authors and illustrators; covers and interior art from many of the books, and other ephemera from the long history of Western publishing.
There’s also (and Leonard has always been good at this!) plenty of publishing “dish” about the various players involved, and that’s really what makes this book shine. Anyone in publishing will be intrigued to read about the entrepreneurship of Edward Wadewitz (founder), the partnerships formed (Disney and Simon and Schuster were key players), the angles played by Sam Lowe (the guy who talked Kresge and Woolworth into bringing these books into their stores) and the very talented and dedicated editors and educators who were determined to make these affordable books available.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much is the sense of history it gave me about the children’s book publishing world. Like many of my friends in the business, I never really planned on spending my career here – what I mean is that I never studied any of this in school, and so I love it when I can get an overview of the world that has taken me over….thanks, Leonard (I am blowing you a virtual kiss).