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Father Goose's Year Book

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Written by  L. Frank Baum
Illustrator  Walter J. Enright
Published  1907
Publisher  Reilly & Britton

Father Goose's Year Book: Quaint Quacks and Feathered Shafts for Mature Children is a collection of humorous nonsense poetry written by L. Frank Baum. It was illustrated by Walter J. Enright, the husband of Maginel Wright Enright, who illustrated The Twinkle Tales (1906), Policeman Bluejay (1907), and L. Frank Baum's Juvenile Speaker (1910).

As its title indicates, Father Goose's Year Book was an attempt to capitalize on the prior success of Father Goose, the 1899 collaboration between Baum and W. W. Denslow that was the dominant best-seller in children's literature at the turn of the twentieth century.[1] Baum had made similar attempts, with uneven success: The Songs of Father Goose (1900) had been a respectable seller, but other ventures, including a Father Goose Calendar, had failed to materialize.[2] The Year Book was a belated version of the calendar: it was a date book with humorous poems and pictures on the verso (left) side of each leaf, faced with blank pages on the recto (right) side for making notes.

Baum's poems for the collection are comparable to his verses in the original Father Goose, but aimed at adults (the "mature children" of the subtitle). The Year Book was described as "the first book for grown-ups by the author of The Wizard of Oz, Ozma of Oz, etc."[3] In fact, Baum had written other books for the adult audience; but The Fate of a Crown (1905) and Daughters of Destiny (1906) were released pseudonymously.

Unfortunately, Baum's rhymes in the Year Book are tainted with the racial and ethnic stereotypes of his era; indeed, it is this aspect of the book that is most striking to a modern sensibility.[4] This problem of ethics and taste is probably insurmountable for modern readers; it is not surprising that the book was not reprinted in the century after its publication.

(On the question of tolerance versus bias in Baum's canon, see also Daughters of Destiny, Father Goose, Sam Steele's Adventures on Land and Sea, Sky Island, and The Woggle-Bug Book.)


  1. Katharine M. Rogers, L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography, New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002; pp. 65-9 and ff.
  2. Rogers, p. 69, 71, 112, 213.
  3. Bookseller and Stationer, Vol. 23, Toronto, Maclean Publishing, 1907; p. 20.
  4. Rogers, pp. 271-2.

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