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Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Sarah, Plain and Tall (original 1985; edition 1987)

by Patricia MacLachlan

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5,922233705 (3.81)172
Title:Sarah, Plain and Tall
Authors:Patricia MacLachlan
Info:HarperCollins (1987), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 64 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Newbery, family, losing a mother

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Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (1985)


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This story was about the Midwest family in the 19th century. The family just lost their mother a long time ago, and the two children have realized that their dad isn’t happy. The then decides to get a mail order bride. He tells the kids about his plan and he has them write to a woman named Sarah. The kids and the father write back and forth with Sarah. She eventually says she will join them out west for a month. She writes and says “I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall." The kids are excited to meet her. When Sarah gets there the kids are worried that she will not like living out west. She does miss her old home in Maine and the sea. One day Sarah wants to learn how to ride the horse and take a trip to town. The children are worried about her not coming back. The father knows better and calms the kids, until Sarah returned. When she does the kids are beyond thrilled.
Personal reaction:
I remember reading this book in elementary school. The story is still great! I loved that you could get feel what the kids were feeling. Not a lot of children go through that scenario nowadays. This book not only shows what it was like in the Midwest in the 19th century but it also sheds light on some of the situations then. I couldn’t imagine being in Anna’s shoes or even Sarah’s.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. We can write a personal narrative about a time we met someone important to us (best friend, teacher, pastor)
2. We can use a map and mark the Midwest states. We can then pick a spot there and map Sarah’s travels there. We can talk about each state that she goes through.
3. We can learn about prairie life. We can also visit the local one room school house (in Hobart, OK) ( )
  Amahoney1114 | Oct 21, 2016 |
A friend of mine handed me this book and said, "You have to read this." It was published in the mid-80's and won the Newbery Medal. I can't believe I never read this! It's such a perfect little story. Patricia MacLachlan brings the characters to life very quickly and you instantly fall in love with them. It'll take you less than an hour to read, but it's well worth it. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Sarah Plain and Tall was a book that my teacher read to me in elementary school. I was inclined to read it again because I did not remember what it was about, and I absolutely loved it. It is a story about a family who is in search of a mail order bride for their family. Sarah, who is from Maine, decides to accept the invitation and come to live with the family.
This story would be a great guided reading book for the teacher to read with the students, probably for a 2nd-4th-grade class. I enjoyed this book because it shows what families really had to do in these days. From the mail-order brides to their farming lifestyle, it showed what life was really like. ( )
  maddisonsitz | Sep 27, 2016 |
Sarah, Plain and Tall is about a family of three: Anna, Caleb, and Papa. Anna's mother passed away when Caleb was born and Papa decides that it is time to find a new spouse after some time has passed. Papa chooses a woman named Sarah who comes all the way from Maine. Sarah refers to herself as plain and tall in the letters that she sent to Anna's family. When Sarah arrives she brings her cat named Seal with her. Together, Sarah and Anna's family spend some time together while getting to know each other. Throughout the course of this book, Sarah refers back to her home on multiple occasions. Most of her memories are of the sea and how fond she is of it. Towards the end, Sarah learns the ways of the farm as well as learns to sing for her new children. I personally enjoyed this story because of the presence of significant aspects of life such as: death, coping, adapting, and acceptance. In some cases, this book may be extremely relatable for some students. A good activity to do with students is to let them write in their personal journals about someone that they love who may or not be alive. Students can also participate in simulated letters where they take the point of view of either: Caleb, Anna, Sarah, or Papa. ( )
  wxv002 | Sep 25, 2016 |
This book is an engaging read for children, especially for young girls. The book is narrated is a little girl's voice, so her thoughts are what drives the book, and these thoughts can be relatable for young girls. The book deals with more serious issues, such as the loss of a mother, a family's attempt at connection with a new family member, and the fear of potential loss.
  cgjohn3570 | Sep 22, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia MacLachlanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amo, Fuencisla DelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinIllustrationssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bliss, HarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Close, GlennNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For old friends, dear friends - Dick and Wendy Puff, Allison and Derek
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"Did Mama sing every day?" asked Caleb.
"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.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064402053, Paperback)

MacLachlan, author of Unclaimed Treasures, has written an affecting tale for children. In the late 19th century a widowed midwestern farmer with two children--Anna and Caleb--advertises for a wife. When Sarah arrives she is homesick for Maine, especially for the ocean which she misses greatly. The children fear that she will not stay, and when she goes off to town alone, young Caleb--whose mother died during childbirth--is stricken with the fear that she has gone for good. But she returns with colored pencils to illustrate for them the beauty of Maine, and to explain that, though she misses her home, "the truth of it is I would miss you more." The tale gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:15 -0400)

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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.

(summary from another edition)

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