Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It
Carl Sandburg ~ Harriet Pincus ~ Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967

Being a child of the American South, I've always loved the beauty of the place, despite some of its sad cultural histories. One of my favorite places to visit when I was young was the Carl Sandburg House in western North Carolina, now a National Historic Site and part of the parks system. It's a lovely old home and farm, and I remember being wee and marveling over the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's library as well as the lovely leather bound first editions of his most famed work for children, The Rootabaga Stories.

When I was at a library sale the other day, I was happy to stumble across this delightfully-bizarre picture book version of one of the stories. Most of the stories in the collection are strange by today's standards, and each tale has a long, wonderfully-quirky title like The Toboggan-to-the-Moon Dream of the Potato Face Blind Man or The Story of Jason Squiff and Why He Had a Popcorn Hat, Popcorn Mittens and Popcorn Shoe or Three Boys With Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions or The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child or How the Animals Lost Their Tails and Got Them Back Traveling From Philadelphia to Medicine Hat, and of course, this one...

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It.

And the story is just that. The Broom Handle and the Rag Doll fall in love and...

There was a wedding when the Rag Doll married the Broom Handle. It was a grand wedding with one of the grandest processions ever seen at a rag doll wedding. And we are sure no broom handle ever had a grander wedding procession when he got married.

Yes, first came the Spoon Lickers, licking their spoons filled with various things like butterscotch, gravy and marshmallow fudge. Next, the Tin Pan Bangers, banging away on, well, tin pans. The Chocolate Chins with chocolate slickered all over their chins. The Clean Ears with not a speck of nothing on their precious lobes. The Easy Ticklers crying "Don't tickle me because I'm so easy to tickle." The Musical Soup Eaters. The Dirty Bibs. The Chubby Chubs. The Sleepyheads. Oh, yes! A fine motley crew if ever there was one.

If you think the story sounds weird and the pictures a bit dodgy, you'll chuckle at a few of the reviews I lifted off of Google.

"This is the most ****** up children's book ever, but also the best."

"This was a wierd book that we had when I was growing up. I kind of liked it, but kind of thought it was psychotic. Can't really put my finger on how I feel about it."

That about says it all!

Also by:
Tell Me a Mitzi


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stephanie said...

My mother-in-law picked this up at a book sale - put it down - picked it up again - ended up buying it on day 3 for us. It is strangely irresitable.

Meskree said...

This is one of my kids' favourite books. My 5th Grade son just selected it, when he had to choose a book to share with his 1st Grade book buddy; and my 7 year old daughter requested I bring it, when it was my turn to be the Mystery Reader for her class. They have a taste for the quirky though: one of their other favourites is the almost-as-bizarre "When the Sky is Like Lace" by Elinor Lander Horwitz.

SparkleFarkel said...

Intrigued by it's enchanting illustrations (Looky-looky--> HERE), size (like a diet-conscious index card), colour (royal purple), and not to mention the wacky-wordy titles it included, I purchased a paperback copy of Rootabaga Stories at a half-price book sale, ten years back. But I have yet to read a single tale in its entirety, because, although I love the nonsensical Sandburgspeak, I find many of stories to be a smitch too melancholic for my literary tongue buds. Come to think of it, Carl has always put me at unease. He and his works put me in a place not unlike being on the verge of a nervous breakdown and deciding walking into a Walmart is the best thing to do.

Wow, was that harsh or what? Sorry!

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

This looks fantastic and weird. I love it already!

Burgin Streetman said...

Sparkle.... best short review ever!

Mary A. (connect4mary@mac.com) said...

I remember this book from when I was little. How can you forget the spoon lickers?

Anonymous said...

Oh this is a classic - they don't make them like this anymore. Thanks for posting the panels, they really brought me back to early childhood in a visceral way. One does wonder what Carl was smoking, however.

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