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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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5,409218802 (3.82)162
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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"Sarah, Plain and Tall" is a very unique story about two children who await the arrival of a woman who answers their father's ad for a wife and mother. Their mother passed away when the youngest child was born and their father is sad and lonely. As they await the arrival of their potential stepmother, they wonder and anticipate what things will be like after Sarah arrives.
This is an interesting story that is like no other. The tone is serious, yet playful. The father is lonely, but the vivid imaginations of the children make them anxious about their visitor. The theme is love and family. The children yearn for a motherly figure and hope Sarah will be everything they hope for. This is a great library book for students and should definitely be widely available. I would use this to help young readers progress as it is around 60 pages, but very easy to understand.
  22antone | Nov 19, 2015 |
Sarah plain and tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Sarah plain and tall, is story of a mail order wife. "I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall.’’ This is a story about two children, Anna and Caleb, whose lives were changed forever when their widowed father advertised for a mailed order bride. Sarah from Maine answered the ad and agreed to come for a month. She changes the lives of the children and father forever. But will she like them enough to decide to stay or go back to Maine.
Personal Reaction
This story is an uplifting story about how a family becomes a family. I love this story, it’s a love story not just between a man and woman but with children as well. She falls in love with them and vice versa. This book is great and you don’t want it to end.
Classroom Extensions
• I would inform my students that they will be writing their own personal narratives about their first experiences with a person who becomes very important in their lives, such as a best friend or a new teacher.
• I would provide students with a map and point out the prairie states which include Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Ask students to choose Sarah's destination, which was never specified in the selection, and map out her train route.
  jessica_vickery | Nov 18, 2015 |
Summary: This book starts off about two young children who are staying with their grandfather. Every day the boy Caleb always asked about his mom, who had passed away after Anna was born. Their grandfather was writing and receiving letters from a lady named Sarah Elisabeth. Grandfather was very excited about her and so was Caleb and Anna. All they wanted to know was could she sing the way they mother did. Grandfather goes and picks up Sarah from the train station. She is excited to be in this new city because it is different from the staying by the sea in Maine. After some time now she starts to get home sick and is missing the big green sea of Maine. She does not know if she should stay or if she should go.

Personal Reaction: The one about this book that caught my eye is how the kids lost their mother so young. If it was me I would not know how to cope with losing my mother. I know I would not even be comfortable with have my grandfather finding someone else. This reminds me of my dad because my parents are divorced and he is now with another women and my mother is still here but it still is not normal to see him with another women that is not my mother.

Classroom Extinctions: 1.) I would ask the class have they ever lost a loved one, even if it is a pet.
2.) I would ask the class to tell me if they would feel comfortable if they loved one had got replaced.
  MarkitaZ | Nov 18, 2015 |
Summary: "Sarah, Plain and Tall," by Patricia Maclachlan is a story set in the early 20th century about a man, Jacob Witting, struggling to raise his children, Sarah and Caleb, without his wife, who died after giving birth to Caleb. Jacob places an ad in the newspaper for a wife and a mother, and a woman named Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton from Maine responds. She visits once a month to evaluate whether or not she could stay with this family. The children grow very fond of Sarah and eventually so does Jacob. The Wheaton family are delighted to know that Sarah would stay with them, knowing that she misses the sea and her home. Anna, the narrator of the story reveals towards the end of the book that Jacob and Sarah do indeed marry.

Personal Response: I enjoyed the plot of this book and the themes that it integrated. I loved the growth that I saw in the characters, specifically Anna. I think this book is an enjoyable and edifying read.

Extension Ideas:
(1. Have students write a character development paragraph and present it to their groups.
(2. Allow students to watch the movie, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and then give a quiz over it.
  cwall_2018 | Nov 13, 2015 |
Autographed to Petra by author
  EllenBeu | Aug 12, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (20 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
First words
"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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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