Gustaf's period of Golden Books
Which one is the World's most published children's picture-book, and who
illustrated it? Not many people know that the originator to the images in the
World's most printed and sold children's book is Swedish. By the millennium
shift 2000, Janette Sebring Lowrey's The Poky Little Puppy with illustrations by Gustaf Tenggren had sold almost 15 million
copies and since then, a couple of more print runs has been made from the
The naughty pup
in "The Poky Little Puppy" became the favourite of millions of American children
when it was first published in 1942
Furthermore, the disobediant puppy has resulted in numerous of different
articles, like grammophone records, interactive CD-ROM discs, jigsaw puzzles,
decorating ornaments, t-shirts and much more. The Poky Little Puppy is an
icon and well known by almost every American, both the elderly that grew up
with the book and by their children and grandchildren in turn.
Tenggren's Story Book, 1944
This book alone qualifies him a record holder, but during the twenty years he
worked for Simon and Schuster, he produced 25 books in total, and many of them
were million-sellers too, for example The Saggy Baggy Elephant,
hitherto printed in more than seven million copies.
Farm stories, 1946
Quite a lot of the books he made for Simon and Schuster had the prefix "Tenggren's"
before the title as a kind of quality mark; a warranty that the tale was
interpreted by an authority in the area of illustration. As such, he made
versions of classic story selections, like Golden Tales from Arabian
Nights or compilations of traditional legends, like King Arthur and the
Knights of the Round Table. Gustaf Tenggren was a legitimate
story-teller of USA's and thus, his books can be found in millions and millions of homes all
over the World.
Tenggren's Cowboys and Indians, 1946
Actually, this makes Gustaf Tenggren the most published Swedish artist ever.
As a matter of fact, he is probably the most well-known Swedish artist in the
World, far more than his fellow-countrymen Anders Zorn, Carl Larsson or John
Tenggren's Pirates, Ships and
You would think the Swedish nation would feel a bit glad for Tengren's fame,
in the way we celebrate other famous Swedes, for example John Ericsson,
August Strindberg, Alfred Nobel, Astrid Lindgren, ABBA or Björn
Borg. But the truth is that if you go out in the Swedish streets and ask a large
number of persons who Gustaf Tenggren is, you won't get a single right
answer. Gustaf is totally unknown among the Swedes.
The Canterbury Tales, 1961
It's a true mystery that Sweden, having a good reputation in the World as a
nation with a concern for children's literature and culture, hasn't paid more
respect to its great son Gustaf Tenggren. One thing is true: his Golden Books
from the forties and fifties will live for many print runs yet, and keep
fascinating generations of book readers to come.
King Arthur and the Knights of
the Round table, 1962