Mother Goose in Prose

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mother Goose in Prose
First edition (1897)
AuthorL. Frank Baum
IllustratorMaxfield Parrish
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherWay & Williams (1897)
George M. Hill (1901)
Bobbs-Merrill (1905)
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)

Mother Goose in Prose is a collection of twenty-two children's stories based on Mother Goose nursery rhymes. It was the first children's book written by L. Frank Baum, and the first book illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. It was originally published in 1897 by Way and Williams of Chicago, and re-released by the George M. Hill Company in 1901.[1]


The book opens with an introduction by Baum that traces the history of Mother Goose. It is followed by the original text of a nursery rhyme with a broader story to establish its literary context.

The book's last selection features a girl named Dorothy who can talk to animals—an anticipation of the Oz books. When Baum later included this story in his Juvenile Speaker (1910) and The Snuggle Tales (1916–17), he changed the girl's name to Doris, to avoid confusing her with Dorothy Gale.[2]

Though handsomely produced, Mother Goose in Prose was priced relatively expensively for a children's book; it was "only moderately successful" commercially.[3] Publisher Way and Williams went bankrupt a year later. Baum took a different approach in a subsequent venture, composing original verses for his Father Goose: His Book in 1899.

Later editions[edit]

New editions of Mother Goose in Prose appeared from Bounty Books in 1951 and after (ISBN 0-517-51904-6), Dover Publications in 2002, and Kessinger Publishing in 2004, among others.

The Jim Henson Company made a TV series based on the book called Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories.


  1. ^ Martin Gardner, "Mother Goose in Prose," The Baum Bugle, Vol. 41 No. 3 (Winter 1997), pp. 8-12.
  2. ^ Gardner, p. 10.
  3. ^ Katharine M. Rogers, L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography, New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002; p. 62.

External links[edit]