02/40: Sarah, Plain and Tall (by Patricia MacLachlan)


Sarah, Plain and Tall

by Patricia MacLachlan

Published in 1985 by The Trumpet Club

WHO: Anna and her brother Caleb…

WHAT: anticipate the arrival of a woman who responds to an ad placed by the children’s father for a wife and mother…

WHERE: which necessitates travel to the plains of America on the part of the respondent, Sarah, who describes herself as “plain and tall”…

WHEN: during what was probably the latter half of the19th century…

WHY: to be a helpmeet on the farm as well as provide a place for herself as her place at home in Maine will be ceded to her sister-in-law…

HOW: Through determination, Sarah will meet the challenges of plains life head on

+ A slim volume with easily accessible language as well as details featuring life on the Plains makes this appealing to the full range of chapter book readers from ages 8-12. The book has an overall tenor of hope and optimism, never descending into dark sentiment (e.g. resentment) or indulging in fear (even during the squall scene) which provides a nice counterpoint to some of the children’s fare (e.g. Coraline (by Neil Gaiman) and Splendors and Glooms (by Laura Amy Schlitz)) that is currently on offering. 

– There is not quite enough detail to pinpoint the time in which the story is set. Given that America’s expansion onto the Plains started in earnest on and after 1862, I’m extrapolating that the story takes place in the latter half of the 19th century.

n.b. – There is no sex, drugs, violence (to humans or animals), nor mention of religious life. 

OTHER: Daughter acquired paperback edition through Walker Elementary School’s Book Swap. Our new puppy chewed the copy my daughter had acquired and as I was repairing the damage, became interested in the book. I repaired the book, read it and returned it to my daughter’s bookshelf.  I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post. 

I have challenged myself to read forty books this summer. Many books will be backlist titles as I’m trying to clear the stacks; but I have no doubt that new releases will make their way in too! 😉


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