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!