Cover image for Sarah, plain and tall
Title:
Sarah, plain and tall
Author:
MacLachlan, Patricia.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Harper Trophy edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 1987.

©1985
Physical Description:
[58] pages ; 20 cm
Summary:
When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.
General Note:
"A Charlotte Zolotow book."

Paging varies.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
560 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.4 1.0 137.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.2 3 Quiz: 10009 Guided reading level: R.
ISBN:
9780064402057

9780062399526
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

"Did Mama sing every day?" Caleb asks his sister Anna.

"Every-single-day," she answers. "Papa sang, too."

This Newbery Medal--winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan's chapter book series about the Witting family. Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna's point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa's advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay?

This children's literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language. Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.

Supports the Common Core State Standards


Author Notes

Patricia MacLachlan was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming on March 3, 1938. She received a B.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1962 and taught English at a junior high school until 1979. She began writing picture books and novels at the age of thirty-five. Her works include The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt, Skylark, Caleb's Story, Grandfather's Dance, Three Names, All the Places to Love, Before You Came, Cat Talk, and Snowflakes Fall. She won the Golden Kite Award for Arthur, for the Very First Time and the 1986 Newbery Medal for Sarah, Plain and Tall.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-5. In a simple story evoking a strong sense of family, Sarah answers Jacob Witting's ad for a mail-order bride and agrees to a trial visit on his frontier farm. Jacob's children hope Sarah will stay, though she misses her Maine home on the sea.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Glenn Close narrates Patricia MacLachlan's beautiful novels on this fine audio collection. Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of Sarah, who came from Maine to answer Jacob's advertisement for a wife and mother, all from the point of view of young Anna. The classic story continues in Skylark, as Anna and her brother, Caleb, must travel with their new mother, Sarah, to Maine when a terrible drought threatens their home. Caleb picks up the story several years later in Caleb's Story, telling of the return of his grandfather, who had abandoned the family when Caleb's father was a young boy. Close, who played the role of Sarah in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of the first book, creates distinct voices for each character without ever resorting to theatrics. Anna and Caleb's voices mature as listeners progress through the stories, and Close's carefully unobtrusive narration showcases MacLachlan's simple yet poetic words. An interview with Patricia MacLachlan at the end of the collection gives students more information about the author's life and writing process, and about the real-life inspiration for Sarah. A beautiful collusion of an excellent story with a perfect narrator, and a treat for all listeners.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Sarah, Plain and Tall Chapter One "Did Mama sing every day?" asked Caleb. "Every-single-day? " He sat dose to the fire, his chin in his hand. It was dusk, and the dogs lay beside him on the warm, hearthstones. "Every-single-day," I told him for the second time this week. For the twentieth time this month. The hundredth time this year? And the past few years? "And did Papa sing, too?" "Yes. Papa sang, too. Don't get so close, Caleb. You'll heat up." He, pushed his chair back. It made a hollow scraping sound on the hearthstones, and the dogs stirred. Lottie, muff and black, wagged her tail and lifted her head., Nick slept on. I turned the bread dough over and over on the marble slab on the kitchen table. "Well, Papa doesn't sing anymore," said Caleb very softly. A log broke apart and crackled in the fireplace. He looked up at me. "What did I look like when I was born?" "You didn't have any clothes on," I told him. I know that," he said. "You looked like this." I held the bread dough up in a round pale ball. "I had hair, " said Caleb seriously. "Not enough to talk about," I said. "And she named me Caleb," he went on, filling in the old familiar story. "I would have named you Troublesome,"' I said, making Caleb smile. "And Mama handed me to you in the yellow blanket and said . . ." He waited for me to finish the story. "And said ... ? " I sighed. "And Mama said, 'Isn't he beautiful, Anna? I " "And I was," Caleb finished. Caleb thought the story was over, and 1, didn't tell him what I had really thought. He was homely and plain, and he had a terrible holler and a horrid smell. But these were not the worst of him. Mama died the next morning. That was the worst thing about Caleb. "Isn't he beautiful, Anna? " Her last words to me, I had gone to bed thinking how wretched he looked. And I forgot to say good night. I wiped my hands on my apron and went to the window. Outside, the prairie reached out and touched the places where the sky came down. Though winter was -nearly over, there were patches of -snow and ice everywhere. I looked at the long dirt road that crawled across the plains, remembering the morning that Mama had died, cruel and sunny. They had come for her in a wagon and, taken her away to be buried. And then the cousins and aunts and uncles had come and tried to fill up the house. But they couldn't. Slowly, one, by one, they left. And then the days seemed long and dark like winter days, even though it wasn't winter. And Papa didn't sing. Sarah, Plain and Tall . Copyright © by Patricia MacLachlan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.