Mother Goose in California

A classic alphabet book with a California twist

Once upon a time, before the Second World War, children’s books were whimsical, colorful, and exuberant. Artists and authors such as Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, Howard Garis, and Walter Brooks bestowed wide-eyed wonder on generations of children.

Artist Doug Hansen has recaptured this whimsy in a way that is at once nostalgic and brilliantly original. The text of this book is the pure vintage Mother Goose of your grandmother’s childhood but set to a new illustrated backdrop of California landmarks such as Half Dome and the Golden Gate Bridge, and inhabited by conquistador cats and sailor squirrels!

The level of detail in the illustrations is marvelous. For the letter “T” Hansen recreates an old-fashioned toy store filled with handcrafted gems. “Jack be nimble” is Mark Twain’s famous jumping frog dressed up as a gold prospector, complete with a Colt six-shooter and holster, pickaxe, and panning tray. And the three little kittens have lost their mittens to Stellar’s jays!


"All children age 4-8 and most adults will find it irresistible."

—Midwest Book Review


“Here is a book to start readers California dreaming, wherever they happen to live.”

—Angelica Carpenter, Curator, Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature



Publishers Weekly "Children's Bookshelf"

San Francisco Chronicle

Fresno Bee

About the Artist

Doug HansenDoug Hansen was born in Fresno, California, and is the eldest of six children in an artistic family. Doug has worked as a Fresno Bee newsroom artist, freelance illustrator, and cartoonist, and he illustrated David Mas Masumoto’s books Letters to the Valley: A Harvest of Memories and Heirlooms: Letters from a Peach Farmer, as well as Mother Goose in California and Aesop in California. He teaches rendering and illustration at his alma mater, California State University, Fresno. Visit his website at

Self-portrait by Doug Hansen