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Father Goose: His Book (1899)
George M. Hill Co.
L. Frank Baum & W.W. Denslow
Father Goose: His Book is a collection of nonsense poetry for children, written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, and first published in 1899. Though generally neglected a century later, the book was a groundbreaking sensation in its own era; "once America's best-selling children's book and L. Frank Baum's first success," Father Goose laid a foundation for the writing career that soon led to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and all of Baum's later work.
Father Goose: His Book became the biggest selling children's book of 1899, going through a second printing by the year's end, making author and illustrator famous.
Baum stated the premise of his collection clearly in his opening rhyme:
- "Old Mother Goose became quite new,
- And joined a Women's Club,
- She left poor Father Goose at home
- To care for Sis and Bub.
- They called for stories by the score,
- And laughed and cried to hear
- All of the queer and merry songs
- That in this book appear....
After its initial popularity, though, Father Goose proved to be less durable than those children's books that eventually become recognized as classics. No one claims that Baum's nonsense poems are as good as those of Edward Lear or Lewis Carroll. His verse is facile, but often little more than that:
- Did you ever see a rabbit climb a tree?
- Did you ever see a lobster ride a flea?
- Did you ever?
- No, you never!
- For they simply couldn't do it, don't you see?
Baum continued in the vein of children's verse for a short time; then he largely abandoned verse for prose, and Oz was born.
Public Domain Appearances
- Father Goose: His Book
- The Songs of Father Goose: For the Kindergarten, the Nursery, and the Home
- Father Goose's Year Book: Quaint Quacks and Feathered Shafts for Mature Children
- L. Frank Baum's Juvenile Speaker