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Sarah, Plain and Tall

Press:Harpercollins HarperCollins (April 25, 1985)
Publication Date:1985-4
Author Name:Maclachlan, Patricia


"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

From School Library Journal

Grade 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, ColumbiaCopyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"In a near-perfect miniature novel, two children experience the apprehensions and joys of the possibility of a new mother, when their father invites a mail-order bride to their prairie home." -- "BL.""An exquisite, sometimes painfully touching tale."-- "The New York Times"A book that is filed with wisdom, gentle humor and the practical concerns necessary for a satisfying life. 
Terse writing and poetic rhythm flow to create a tender story about the fragile beginnings of a family relationship on its way to permanence."-- "School Library Jornal

From the Back Cover

"Did Mama sing every day?" Caleb asks his sister Anna."Every-single-day," she answers. 
"Papa too."

About the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. 
Her novels for young readers include Arthur, For the Very First Time; The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt; Skylark; Caleb’s Story; More Perfect than the Moon; Grandfather’s Dance; Word After Word After Word; Kindred Souls; and The Truth of Me; she is also the author of countless beloved picture books, a number of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily.

From AudioFile

Anna continues to be the lead storyteller in this sequel to SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL, and Glenn Close carries through with her expert performance. 
Staying true to the characters developed in the first story, this is a seamless extension of the saga.
As the story unfolds, a drought threatens the family and the farm.
Caleb becomes a stronger voice, and a well-done cast of new characters make their entrance into the tale.
Close carries the listener off into Sarah's world where she meets problems head-on.
The emotions, tension, and drama are all enhanced by this exquisite narration.
Adults and children alike will easily fall in love with this audiobook, its prequel and sequel.
© AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Children's Books,Classics,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     A classic story, we are using this as part of our homeschool curriculum this fall.

  •     Such a great quick read. I loved the simplicity of this book. I read it to a friend's daughter who was sick.

  •     According to my daughter, the story is only half of the book. The rest is teacher stuff and and questions for students. The book was too short but it was a good story.

  •     What a wonderful short tale of days gone by, and the relative simplicity of the country life that brings back fond memories.

  •     ok

  •     Great job. Thank you

  •     Excellent movie on values and life.

  •     Classic story - lovely to read!

  •     Usually I have to pre-read the Newbery award winners before I give them to my kids, because the Newbery people seem to give the award to books that are "edgy" -- broken families, abuse issues, violence, mistreatment of animals, sexual situations...Seriously, if you try to explain to a librarian that you have reservations about the Newbery books, the librarian will roll his eyes at you, purse his lips, maybe even raise an eyebrow. Who am I, the parent, to impose my tastes on my children's reading selections?It's to the point where a Newbery award on a book causes my alarm bells to go off."Sarah, Plain and Tall" is a good book about a strong family that becomes stronger when the widowed father advertises for a mail-order wife. Seriously -- single women were scarce on the prairie. The book looks lovingly at natural beauty -- the sea versus the prairie -- and it has gentle and patient adult role models. Happy ending, too.The children's personalities are normal and kind. The little brother is described as "pesky," but in a loving way.The language is descriptive and the dialog is brief. The whole book is about anticipation and hope.This book is about as far from recent-Newbery-winner "Despereaux" as any book can be. And that's a GOOD thing.

  •     good and fast

  •     I love this book.

  •     My third grade class wrote reviews of this book in class. The class voted and these were the top three:This book was about two children who lived with their father-two children who beeded a mother! The book was set in the 1900's on the plains. The father seperately needed a wife, so he put an ad in the newspaper. He got a replay! The lady's name was Sarah. She came from Maine and she was "Plain and Tall." Sarah wants to check the family out! Sarah was my favorite character, but I liked everyone. I liked Sarah because she loved animals and had her own mind-she was stubborn. I can relate to that. I liked this book because it was interesting; I had to know what would happen! I also liked this book because the children needed a mother and they got one. They had a bit to learn about the awesome ocean and Sarah had to learn about life on the plains. I would recommend this book to children in second through fifth grade and all the people who like old fashioned stuff. Finally, I would positively recommend this book to all the people who are interested in a heartwarming story.By BrookeThis book is about a family with a father, a daughter, and a son living on the prairie in the early 1900's. The father put an ad in the paper for a new wife. A woman from Maine answred the ad and traveled by train to get to the prairie. My favorite character in the book was Caleb because he would always make you laugh. I liked this book becasue it had a great setting, great characters, and great lines for characters to say. I would recommend this book for 2nd grade kids.By ZanderThis book was about two children that lived with their father. They lived on the prairie in the early 1900's. The father tried to find a wife by putting an ad in the paper. There is a woman that responds. My favorite character in the book was Anna because she takes care of her father and her brother. She cooks, she cleans, and she helps Caleb to remember who his mom was. I liked this book because this story reminds me of when my Uncle Luey was always taking care of my three grandmas, just like Anna took good care of Caleb and her father. I would recommend this book to people who have had their mom or wife die because you can always have love again or a new mom.By Audrey

  •     I watched the Hallmark movies adapted from these stories long before I read the books they were inspired from. In fact, it was not until a few years ago I read this series. As an adult, I can tell you how wonderfully moving these stories are and how incredible, and rare, an author Patricia MacLachlan is. Her words are almost magical, and yet, she tells a full, deep story with simple phrases, short sentences, and common words. She paints beautiful pictures and uses prose in a way I have never seen before, nor since.Her words are like music.The story premise is attractive in itself. The characters make the story, though. The movies are also wonderful and family friendly. The books almost act as a script in themselves for the movies as much of the dialogue and scenes are taken directly from Patricia MacLachlan's words in the stories. Thankfully, she wrote the scripts for the movies and was able to capture the magic in her books on screen.Wonderful stories that are not only enjoyable for children, but for adults, too.

  •     A wonderful book for adult readers too...

  •     A wonderful book for all ages


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