Be a Sandburg Home Rootabaga Junior Ranger

Actors performing Sandburg's works on stage
Actors Perform Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories on Stage in the Park

NPS Photo

Welcome to Rootabaga Country!
The land of liver and onions, where railroads run on zig-zag tracks and cream puffs come to life. Carl Sandburg wrote the "Rootabaga Stories" to replace European fairy tales with princes, princesses, castles and kingdoms with icons American children would recognize -- taxi-drivers, movie actors, skyscrapers, prairies and automobiles.

We invite you to experience Rootabaga Country for yourself by watching this short video. Each summer, apprentice actors from the Flat Rock Playhouse take the Sandburg Home stage to perform works based on Carl Sandburg's works. After watching the plays, young visitors can complete an activity sheet and become a Rootabaga Junior Ranger.

Now you can become a Rootabaga Junior Ranger wherever you are!

1. Watch the video.
2. Complete the activities.
3. Print out the Junior Rootabaga Ranger Badge.
The next time you visit the park, bring your printed badge and receive a prize!

Open Transcript


(10 actors are on the stage wearing blue jean overalls and colorful shirts)

How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played the Guitar with His Mittens On

- Sometimes in January the sky comes down close if we walk on a country road and turn our faces up to look at the sky. - Sometimes on that kind of January night the stars look like numbers, look like the arithmetic writing of a girl going to school and just beginning arithmetic.

- It was this kind of night Henry Hagglyhoagly was walking down a country road on his way to the home of Susan Slackentwist,near the Village of Liver-and-Onions.

(music playing)

So listen to the story of Henry Hagglyhoagly. Went a courtin' one evening did Henry Hagglyhoagly. Out to serenade a Miss Susan Slackentwist. The daughter of the Rutabaga King. That's the jist! So listen to the story of Henry Hagglyhoagly.

Henry Hagglyhoagly turned his face up to look at the sky, - and there was a writing in stars as though some girl had been doing arithmetic examples, writing number 4 and number 7 and 4 and 7 over and over again across the sky.

- Then a wind came tearing along and put its chilly, icy, clammy clamps upon the nose of Henry Hagglyhoagly.

- Why do you think it's so bitter cold? Bbbrrr! - Bbbrrr! - Mittens why do you think it's so bitter cold? Bbbrrr! - Bbbrrr! He was happy that he had his mittens on - Oh thank you mittens for keeping me warm - He was happy that he had his mittens on. Bbbrrr! - Do you know what we've got here under our left arm? - Said Henry Hagglyhoagly to his mittens. - I shall mention to you what is under my left arm. - What is it Henry? - It ain't a mandolin a concertina nor a fiddle - It's a special Spanish Spinish Splishy guitar kinda little - He was happy that he had his mitten on, hmm hmm. - Yes, mittens they said, a strong young man like me oughtta have a piano.Because a piano's handy to play and to put a hat and overcoat on or books or flowers! But I snizzled at them mittens I told 'em I'd seen a Spanish Spinnish Splishy guitar made special in the hardware store, and mittens, if you are listening, I am taking this Spanish Spinnish Splishy guitar to go to the home of Susan Slackentwist. The daughter of the Rutabaga King near the village of liver and onions to sing a serenade song.

- At last you came to the house, stood under the window, and slung your guitar around the front of him. -And now -Said Henry - Should you mittens be off or on? - Hmmm? You can play a special special Spanish guitar with his mittens on - I'd like to try with my mittens on. I will play with mittens on

(sweet guitar music playing)

- And he did! He stood in the window of Susan Slackentwist And played the guitar with his mittens on!

- It was the first time any strong young man going to see his sweetheart ever played the guitar with his mittens on. when it was a cold night with cold wind and cold weather.

- And for years afterward many a sweetheart of the rutabaga country told her lover.

- If you wish to marry me then let me hear a song,in the winter on a guitar with your mittens on. And so it was the story of Henry Hagglyhoagly

- And when he walked home he turned his face up, the sky came down close, and he could see stars fixed like numbers

- The arithmetic writing of a girl going to school learning to write the number four and number seven and four and seven

- Over and over and over and over and over and over...

- And we're certain that they lived happily happ everly.

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5 minutes, 35 seconds

Watch "How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played the Guitar with His Mittens On," complete the activities and become a Junior Rootabaga Ranger!

Rootabaga Poetry
Write a poem inspired by the play.

Rootabaga Search
The five rusty rats got lost in the Village of Cream Puffs. Help find them.

search the image for 5 rats

Rootabaga Maze
Help the rats travel from the Village of Cream Puffs over to the Village of Liver and Onions to visit Henry Hagglyhoagly.

Rootabaga maze

Rootabaga Words
Find words from the Rootabaga Stories.

Rootabaga word search

Rootabaga Draw
Draw and name your own Rootabaga character.

Name of Character _______________________________________
Junior Ranger badge cutout

You are now a Junior Rootabaga Ranger. Print the badge and cut it out to add to your collection.

Last updated: February 8, 2021