Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg

Pig Wisps and Shovel Ears, Balloon Pickers and Baked Clowns, Whitson Whimble and the Potato Face Blind Man are some of the people found in Rootabaga County. You can get there with “a ticket to ride where the railroad tracks run off into the sky and never come back… as far away as the railroad rails go and then forty ways farther yet.” Carl Sandburg wrote these stories for his daughters “Spink”, “Skabootch” and “Swipes”. If you watch carefully you just might find them in some of these tales.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) won two Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry and one for his masterful biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as “a major figure in contemporary literature”, especially for volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920). He enjoyed “unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life”, and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that “Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.” [All from Wikipedia]

Book Contents

  • Dedication
  • Preface by Lutheran Librarian
  • Book 1. Rootabaga Stories
    • 1 Three Stories About the Finding of the Zigzag Railroad, the Pigs with Bibs On, the Circus Clown Ovens, the Village of Liver-and-Onions, the Village of Cream Puffs.
      • How They Broke Away to Go to the Rootabaga Country
      • How They Bring Back the Village of Cream Puffs When the Wind Blows It Away
      • How the Five Rusty Rats Helped Find a New Village
    • 2 Five Stories About the Potato Face Blind Man
      • The Potato Face Blind Man Who Lost the Diamond Rabbit on His Gold Accordion
      • How the Potato Face Blind Man Enjoyed Himself on a Fine Spring Morning
      • Poker Face the Baboon and Hot Dog the Tiger
      • The Toboggan-to-the-Moon Dream of the Potato Face Blind Man
      • How Gimme the Ax Found Out About the Zigzag Railroad and Who Made It Zigzag
    • 3 Three Stories About the Gold Buckskin Whincher
      • The Story of Blixie Bimber and the Power of the Gold Buckskin Whincher
      • The Story of Jason Squiff and Why He Had a Popcorn Hat, Popcorn Mittens and Popcorn Shoes
      • The Story of Rags Habakuk, the Two Blue Rats, and the Circus Man Who Came with Spot Cash Money
    • 4 Four Stories About the Deep Doom of Dark Doorways
      • The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It
      • How the Hat Ashes Shovel Helped Snoo Foo
      • Three Boys With Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions
      • How Bimbo the Snip’s Thumb Stuck to His Nose When the Wind Changed
    • 5 Three Stories About Three Ways the Wind Went Winding
      • The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child
      • The Dollar Watch and the Five Jack Rabbits
      • The Wooden Indian and the Shaghorn Buffalo
    • 6 Four Stories About Dear, Dear Eyes
      • The White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy
      • What Six Girls with Balloons Told the Gray Man on Horseback
      • How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played the Guitar with His Mittens On
      • Never Kick a Slipper at the Moon
    • 7 One Story—“Only the Fire-Born Understand Blue”
      • Sand Flat Shadows
    • 8 Two Stories About Corn Fairies, Blue Foxes, Flongboos and Happenings That Happened in the United States and Canada
      • How to Tell Corn Fairies If You See ’Em
      • How the Animals Lost Their Tails and Got Them Back Traveling From Philadelphia to Medicine Hat
  • Book 2. Rootabaga Pigeons
    • 1 Two Stories Told by the Potato Face Blind Man.
      • The Skyscraper to the Moon and How the Green Rat with the Rheumatism Ran a Thousand Miles Twice
      • Slipfoot and How He Nearly Always Never Gets What He Goes After
    • 2 Two Stories About Bugs and Eggs.
      • Many, Many Weddings in One Corner House
      • Shush Shush, the Big Buff Banty Hen Who Laid an Egg in the Postmaster’s Hat
    • 3 Five Stories About Hatrack the Horse, Six Pigeons, Three Wild Babylonian Baboons, Six Umbrellas, Bozo the Button Buster.
      • How Ragbag Mammy Kept Her Secret While the Wind Blew Away the Village of Hat Pins
      • How Six Pigeons Came Back to Hatrack the Horse After Many Accidents and Six Telegrams
      • How the Three Wild Babylonian Baboons Went Away in the Rain Eating Bread and Butter
      • How Six Umbrellas Took Off Their Straw Hats to Show Respect to the One Big Umbrella
      • How Bozo the Button Buster Busted All His Buttons When a Mouse Came
    • 4 Two Stories About Four Boys Who Had Different Dreams.
      • How Googler and Gaggler, the Two Christmas Babies, Came Home with Monkey Wrenches
      • How Johnny the Wham Sleeps in Money All the Time and Joe the Wimp Shines and Sees Things
    • 5 Two Stories Told by the Potato Face Blind Man About Two Girls with Red Hearts.
      • How Deep Red Roses Goes Back and Forth Between the Clock and the Looking Glass
      • How Pink Peony Sent Spuds, the Ballplayer, Up to Pick Four Moons
    • 6 Three Stories About Moonlight, Pigeons, Bees, Egypt, Jesse James, Spanish Onions, the Queen of the Cracked Heads, the King of the Paper Sacks.
      • How Dippy the Wisp and Slip Me Liz Came in the Moonshine Where the Potato Face Blind Man Sat with His Accordion
      • How Hot Balloons and His Pigeon Daughters Crossed Over into the Rootabaga Country
      • How Two Sweetheart Dippies Sat in the Moonlight on a Lumber Yard Fence and Heard About the Sooners and the Boomers
    • 7 Two Stories Out of the Tall Grass.
      • The Haystack Cricket and How Things Are Different Up in the Moon Towns
      • Why the Big Ball Game Between Hot Grounders and the Grand Standers Was a Hot Game
    • 8 Two Stories Out of Oklahoma and Nebraska.
      • The Huckabuck Family and How They Raised Pop Corn in Nebraska and Quit and Came Back
      • Yang Yang and Hoo Hoo, or the Song of the Left Foot of the Shadow of the Goose in Oklahoma
    • 9 One Story About Big People Now and Little People Long Ago.
      • How a Skyscraper and a Railroad Train Got Picked Up and Carried Away from Pig’s Eye Valley Far in the Pickax Mountains
    • 10 Three Stories About the Letter X and How It Got into the Alphabet.
      • Pig Wisps
      • Kiss Me

Publication Information

  • Lutheran Library edition first published: 2020
  • Copyright: CC BY 4.0
Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg