Mary Pfaff, acclaimed as "the Beatrix Potter of Hawaii," was born about 1875 in Brockton, Minnesota. At the age of twenty-two, she moved to Hawaii to work at the Hawaiian Gazette. There she met and married local businessman William Apana. Mary wrote and illustrated the Alice Mongoose stories to entertain their young daughter Mildred. William arranged to have Mary's delightful sketches and stories printed as hardcover books.
Alice Mongoose's recent renaissance may be credited to the efforts of Mary Pfaff's granddaughter, Dorothy Pfaff. A new generation of parents and children have come to appreciate the books' unselfconscious multiculturalism, sensible life lessons, and positive main characters.