Daniel's Reviews > Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
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Nov 23, 08

Read in November, 2008

Title: Sarah, Plain and Tall
Author: Patricia MacLachlan
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 64 pp, 1985
Audience: Children, ages 8 to 10
Format: Juvenile fiction (Newberry Medal, award winner)

Description: Sarah, Plain and Tall is an American classic about two children, Anna and Caleb, who are suffering from the loss of their mom. Caleb was too young to remember their mom as she died shortly after he was born. Anna remembers that their mom and dad used to sing every day. They see how it has affected their father as he no longer sings. When their father places an ad in the newspaper for a wife, Sarah who is from Maine, answers the ad. How will Anna and Caleb respond to Sarah, who they nothing about?

Personal Review: I remember hearing about this story when I was younger but never actually got around to reading it. It came out only a year after I was born! But I am glad that I was able to read this story. I can see how it was awarded the Newberry Medal and how the story is still remembered by people to this day. After reading this story, I actually drew comparisons to the Cinderella story with the stepmother. I can only imagine how bad this situation for Anna and Caleb could have been if they didn’t get along with their father’s new bride.

Citation of 2 critical sources:
The New York Times review calls this book an exquisite, sometimes painfully touching tale. I found this review to be effective as it didn’t give too much of the story away and it successfully explains how the story can have an emotional impact on readers.

The School Library Journal review calls this book a heartwarming story that will resonate with young readers. I agree with this review in that reading this story, young readers who have also lost a parent or do not have one or are orphans, would relate to the characters of Anna and Caleb who long to have the warmth of love a caring mother figure.
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