Friday, March 2, 2012

Sarah, Plain and Tall

I found another wonderful Newbery Medal winner from a couple decades ago to feature this month. It’s Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. This book was published in 1985 and won the Newbery Medal in 1986.

The story is about a family living on the prairie in colonial times. The family consists of the father, Jacob, a daughter, Anna, and a son, Caleb. The mother of the family died after giving birth to Caleb several years earlier. The entire family misses the mother and thinks about her often. The father decides to put an ad in the newspaper for a wife. The children are surprised, but thrilled. A woman, named Sarah from Maine, answers the ad and comes to live with the family. The family and Sarah spend a month getting to know each other and the author gives hints of Jacob and Sarah’s blooming love. Sarah teaches the family about the sea and living on the coast and the family teaches Sarah how to ride a horse and drive a wagon. In the end, Jacob and Sarah get married and the family is complete again.

This story is wonderful. It deals delicately with the pain of losing a mother and paints a rich and colorful picture of both the sea and the prairie.

I enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to 2nd graders.