Christy's Reviews > Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
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Feb 06, 12

bookshelves: newberry, middle-grade
Read in February, 2012

Sarah, Plain and Tall is a children's book written by Patricia MacLachlan, and the winner of the 1986 Newbery Medal. The book explores themes of loneliness and abandonment.

The novel is set in the midwestern United States (Kansas) during the late 19th century. Jacob Witting, a widowed farmer who is still saddened by the death of his wife several years earlier, g...moreSarah, Plain and Tall is a children's book written by Patricia MacLachlan, and the winner of the 1986 Newbery Medal. The book explores themes of loneliness and abandonment.

The novel is set in the midwestern United States (Kansas) during the late 19th century. Jacob Witting, a widowed farmer who is still saddened by the death of his wife several years earlier, giving birth to Caleb, finds that the task of taking care of his farm and two children, Anna and Caleb, is too difficult to handle alone. He writes an ad in the newspaper for a mail-order bride. Sarah, from Maine, answers his ad and travels out to become his wife. But Sarah grows homesick - the prairie grass didn't substitute for the Maine sea shore. When Sarah leaves for a trip into town, the kids wonder if she would come back. And she did. She had brought back colored pencils so she could show them the beautiful colors and views of Maine and gorgeous sea shore. She, Anna, Caleb, and Jacob have a lot of good times that lead to Caleb loving Sarah even more, but Anna thinks that she will replace her mother. In the end Sarah and Jacob get married.

The novel and its sequel Skylark were the basis for three television movies (Sarah, Plain and Tall; Skylark; and Winter's End), starring Glenn Close and Christopher Walken, and has also been referenced on the animated television series The Simpsons in the episode called "Bart's Girlfriend".

Sarah, Plain and Tall was adapted into a stage musical, composed by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin for Theatreworks USA, 2002.

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