Random House is adding a number of notable new products to its Little Golden Books franchise. A major release is a 12-book boxed set of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars titles—the first time a boxed set has crossed all of Disney’s major brands—to mark the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company in 2023. The set will be published in December.
“They have plans for an epic, year-long celebration,” said Chris Angelilli, v-p and editor-in-chief of licensed publishing at Random House. “Our first Little Golden Book with Disney was in 1944 and we’ve done countless books over many of their properties. We like to think we’ve played at least a small part in Disney’s history.” The anniversary-branded box features titles that cross the decades, including tie-ins to Toy Story, Star Wars: A New Hope, It’s a Small World, The Lion King, Moana, Frozen, 101 Dalmatians, Princess and the Frog, Pixar Cars, and Iron Man. There is also a vintage Cinderella title, as well as a 1950 book, Mickey Mouse’s Picnic, that is exclusive to this box.
Meanwhile, the publisher is reaching into every nook and cranny of the Disney universe for Little Golden Book content. It is releasing a new Little Golden Book for Star Wars: Visions, an anime-inspired anthology series that is mostly adult-skewing. “For Star Wars, we only have Little Golden Book rights, and we thought there would be nothing age-appropriate from Visions,” Angelilli said. “But the creative director at Lucas called and said to look at this one episode, T0-B1. I’m glad he did. It’s child-friendly, about a droid who dreams of being a Jedi Knight. It reminds me of Pinocchio. And the animation style is perfect for Golden Books. We were planning to find an illustrator, but we ended up using screen grabs.”
Other new Little Golden Books include A Puppy for Hanukkah, the first Hanukkah-themed Little Golden Book and one of the few in Little Golden Book history. It is based on a Disney Channel and Disney+ music video performed by Hamilton star Daveed Diggs; more Little Golden Books tied to Disney lyrics are forthcoming. And, for DC Comics, a new Little Golden Book features characters of Shazam and Black Adam, both of which have feature films coming up, the latter starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
“Black Adam is a unique and complicated character that rides the line between villain and hero,” Angelilli said. The book, Heroes Help!, shows Shazam teaching Black Adam what it means to be a hero.