Sarah, Plain and Tall

In Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan, Anna tells the story of her family.  Her mother died shortly after her little brother, Caleb, was born and Anna can’t help feeling sad and somewhat resentful towards him.  But her father’s surprising announcement quickly diverts her attention.  He has placed an ad in the newspaper for a wife.

A mother?  They were going to get a mother?

Sarah answers Papa’s ad, and starts writing to Papa, Caleb and Anna.  They eagerly welcome her to their farm in the prairie, but the children are nervous she will change her mind and return to the sea she misses so much.

Maclachlan writes an engaging story for beginner readers in Sarah, Plain and Tall – capturing the awkwardness of a mail-order bride getting used to a new family from a child’s perspective.  Readers feel apprehensive with Anna and a range of emotions with Caleb (from excitement to fear) – and will enjoy the ending.

This is a great beginning chapter book for learning readers.  We listened to the audiobook, and now my children are devouring the sequels, of which there are four (thankfully!):

  • Skylark
  • Caleb’s Story
  • More Perfect Than the Moon
  • Grandfather’s Dance

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