Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mother Goose in Prose

L Frank Baum's first published children's book was Mother Goose in Prose, in 1897. This was also the first book illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. As the name indicates, it is a collection of nursery rhymes that have been re-written as short stories.

This was the first non-Oz book by Baum that I read. I was given the Bounty reprint edition in 1974. This was during a resurgence of interest in Parrish, and I believe the illustrations were the main reason the book was reprinted. When I eventually bought a first edition, I was amazed at the difference in size. The original printing is quite large, giving plenty of room for the Parrish illustrations. Later reprints all shrink the book down to a more standard size.

Pettijohn's Breakfast Food offered Mother Goose in Prose in parts, if customers mailed in labels. On the right is an ad with this offer. I believe these paperbound sections are quite rare today.

I'm not certain if any original artwork exists from this book - I think it might. I do know that Maxfield Parrish signed 27 sets of proofs of the illustrations, which were sold as portfolios. Only a handful of complete sets survive, although individual prints have been on the market lately.


Anonymous said...

I found a Pettijohn's trinket, or charm, that looks like it could be a attached to a necklace. It has a little bear on it. I'm trying to find a picture of it online.

Bill Campbell said...

Interesting - it certainly sounds like some sort of trade premium. I don't know how long Pettijohn's was in business; from what I've found online, they appear to have been part of General Mills in the early 1900s.