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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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4,941188927 (3.84)134
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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The novel is set in the midwestern United States (Kansas) during the late 19th century. Jacob Witting, a widowed farmer who is still saddened by the death of his wife several years earlier, giving birth to Caleb, finds that the task of taking care of his farm and two children, Anna and Caleb, is too difficult to handle alone. He writes an ad in the newspaper for a mail-order bride. Sarah, from Maine, answers his ad and travels out to become his wife. But Sarah grows homesick - the prairie grass didn't substitute for the Maine sea shore. When Sarah leaves for a trip into town, the kids wonder if she would come back. And she did. She had brought back colored pencils so she could show them the beautiful colors and views of Maine and gorgeous sea shore. She, Anna, Caleb, and Jacob have a lot of good times that lead to Caleb loving Sarah even more, but Anna thinks that she will replace her mother. In the end Sarah and Jacob get married. ( )
  Stsmurphy | Jun 7, 2014 |
I read Sarah Plain and Tall to my students this year after we read a section of the sequel Skylark in their Houghton Mifflin anthology. They wanted to know what happened to Papa, Sarah, Anna and Caleb, but I told them that we needed to read the first story in the series first to get the background knowledge that we were missing. This would be a good book to read when studying westward expansion in social studies.
  MissMurray2014 | Jun 2, 2014 |
This classic Newberry winner is a delightful story and one that reminds us that the key ingredient in any family is that of love. A widower issues an advertisement for a woman to come to their prairie farm, live in isolation and help raise his two children and become his wife. Sarah, Plain and Tall, arrives to stay for a month and see how things go. The children, the father and even the animals on the farm come to love Sarah and all are a little afraid that she won’t stay as she misses her home in Maine and most of all the sea. When Sarah does go off to town for a day on her own, the children are very fearful that she will not return.

The author, Patricia MacLachlan is able to breathe life into this small story that addresses both a child's fear of abandonment and their need to be nurtured and loved. Sarah may be plain and tall, but she is able to find love and acceptance for herself and gives this family the wife and mother that they need. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | May 15, 2014 |
This book is about a father and his two children who are all alone. The children's mother died a couple days after the youngest child was born. Their father decides that he wants a wife so he puts in an advertisement. He gets a reply from a lady named Sarah. Sarah comes to visit, and never leaves.

Personal Reaction:
I enjoyed reading this book. It is very realistic.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. In my classroom, I could use this book for a lesson on farming and farm animals.
2. In my classroom, I could use this book to teach my students that people always come into your life for a reason.
  shellbierose | Apr 22, 2014 |
Summary: This book was about a family of three people it was a father and two children their mother died while giving birth. They all run a small farm that they call home one day the father says he put an ad in the newspaper for help and he actually put an ad in the paper for a wife and the children are surprised and excited by this. A woman named Sarah writes letter to the children and the husband and eventually agrees to visit for a month, during the month she grows very close to the family. At the end of the month she goes to town and the children thing she is leaving them all together but that was not the case Sarah returns with things for the whole family and eventually she marries the children's father.

Reaction: This book did a good job of portraying two different life styles Sarah from Maine her life by the sea was very different from the family she visited they lived in what I would call a plains area.

Science Lesson on living near an ocean.
The children could draw what they consider home and explain it to their classmates this is good for children who might not be from this area.
  PauletteHernandez | Apr 22, 2014 |
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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.
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(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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:56 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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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