Sarah, Plain and Tall
by Patricia MacLachlan
Recommended Age: 10+
From this author of many children’s picture books and several young readers’ novels comes this 1986 winner of the Newbery Medal. It is a short novel, quickly read, yet one that you may want to savor. For not only is it a sweet story, but it is told with exceptional beauty.
Sarah is, basically, a mail-order bride. She answers an ad from a widower farmer with a daughter and a son who sorely miss having a mother. Most of all, they need someone to bring singing back into the house. Along comes Sarah in her yellow bonnet, plain and tall, strong-willed and independent, from the faraway state of Maine.
Sarah misses her family back east and the sea. She has a lot to get used to on the prairie, but she and the children, not to mention their father, soon fall right in love with each other. But does Sarah miss her seals, her sand dunes, her brother, and her clucking old aunts too much? When she insists on learning to drive a wagon, does that mean she wants to go to town and buy a train ticket back to Maine?
I’ve already told you what I think about this book. Go out and get it (I found it in the library) and enjoy it now. I think you’ll agree that Sarah, Plain and Tall is a magical story...even without anything supernatural in it.
EDIT: Patricia MacLachlan has written many other books, including several companion books to this one. Among them are Caleb's Story, Skylark, Grandfather's Dance, and More Perfect than the Moon.