Carl Sandburg was an American writer who was born in 1878, he won the Pulitzer Prize 3 times, twice for his poetry(“Corn Huskers” and “Complete Poems”) and another for his history book on the war years. In America he is much loved for his children books set in the land of Rootabaga.

 “it is in Rootabaga Country, and in the biggest village of that country, the Potato Face Blind Man sits with his accordion on the corner nearest the post office. There he sits with his eyes never looking out and always searching in. And sometimes he finds in himself the whole human procession.”

Sandburg created a land with the help of his three daughters where railway lines go from straight to zigzag, the pigs wear bibs,

“The train ran on and on till it stopped running straight and began running in zigzags. The checker pigs have checker fathers and mothers. The striped pigs have striped fathers and mothers. And the polka dot pigs have polka dot fathers and mothers. And the train went zigzagging on and on running on the tracks and the rails and the spikes and the ties which were all zigzag like the letter Z and the letter Z.”

the Village of Cream Puff floats around in the wind and there are baby balloon pickers:

“The sky was thick with balloons. Red, blue, yellow balloons, white, purple and orange balloons—peach, watermelon and potato balloons—rye loaf and wheat loaf balloons—link sausage and pork chop balloons—they floated and filled the sky.

The balloon pickers were walking on high stilts picking balloons. Each picker had his own stilts, long or short. For picking balloons near the ground he had short stilts. If he wanted to pick far and high he walked on a far and high pair of stilts.

Baby pickers on baby stilts were picking baby balloons. When they fell off the stilts the handful of balloons they were holding kept them in the air till they got their feet into the stilts again.”(Rootabaga Stories)

The stories are often narrated by the Potato Face Blind Man, who is an old minstrel from the village of Liver and Onions who hangs out near the post office.

Writing Tasks
Read some more exerts: Immerse yourself in the Rootabaga land and become a character in it. You have been given a mission to travel to another land that borders it, as there is a medicine that will save Potato Face as he is very ill, Rootabaga depends on this mission. Describe the land and the mission(15-20 minutes).

Write a poem about the lands bordering Rootabaga(15-20 minutes).

Happy Writing!


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