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Rootabaga Stories (Harcourt Young Classics) Hardcover – April 1, 2003
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"Glorious for reading aloud."--The New York Times Book Review
From the Back Cover
Joyous, humorous, poetic, and always uniquely American, Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories are an important part of our children's literary legacy. In inimitable prose, Sandburg created Rootabaga Country-where the railroad tracks go from straight to zigzag, where the pigs have bibs on, and where the Village of Cream Puffs floats in the wind-and populated it with baby balloon pickers, flummywisters, Poker Face the Baboon and Hot Dog the Tiger, the White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy, corn fairies, blue foxes, and many more fanciful characters. Rootabaga Stories, Part One is irrepressible, zany Americana-an anthology to delight admirers of Sandburg's genius. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The ROOTABAGA STORIES are unconventional in almost every way. Unlike traditional fairy tales, they have no perfect princesses and evil witches. They are American fairy tales with a rural flavor and, in fact, they have no evil characters. The settings, though fanciful, include images that defined America in the 1920s, when the stories were published: the railroad, which "ran across the prairie, to the mountains, to the sea," and the skyscraper.
In Rootabaga Country the railroad tracks go from straight to zigzag, the pigs wear bibs (some checked, some striped, some polka-dotted), and the biggest city is the Village of Liver-and-Onions. Characters in this fanciful world are equally peculiar: Please Gimme, Blixie Blimber, Eeta Peeca Pie, and dozens of others. Children and literary critics alike would be hard-pressed to explain (even symbolically) the events that occur in the stories. Nevertheless, meaning comes through and truth is revealed. For example, in "Three Boys with Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions," ambition is defined as "a little creeper that creeps and creeps in your heart night and day, singing a little song, 'Come and find me, come and find me.'" Who would expect that "The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child" would have an absolutely poignant ending?
Although the events of the stories may not be explainable, the stories are replete with concrete images. Sandburg provides both visual and auditory description with musical, repetitious phrases and novel juxtaposition of words ("a daughter who is a dancing shaft of light on the ax handles of morning"). Occasionally he invents words, such as "pfisty-pfoost," the sound of the train's steam engine, and "bickerjiggers," the buttons on an accordion.
ROOTABAGA STORIES are wonderful for reading aloud. They provide an opportunity for readers and listeners to delight in language and revel in truths revealed in a fanciful world.