Sarah, Plain and Tall

I bought a copy of Patricia MacLachlan’s book Sara, Plain and Tall for the third-grade student I “mentor” once a week at an elementary school near my home.

I bought it because I remembered when my daughter read it, and the title has always intrigued me. So, I read the book, for ages six to 10.

I enjoyed it immensely. It’s a delightful story about a family that lives on the prairie in the late 19th century.

After Caleb and Anna’s mother died, their father didn’t sing anymore . But, finally, Sarah Elizabeth Wheaton answers an advertisement and comes from Maine for a month’s trial. Will she stay and become their new mother and Papa’s new wife?

Sarah warns them before she comes. She writes that she is “not mild mannered.” And, she is “plain and tall.”

But she sings songs, and she brings sea shells for Anna and Caleb. She helps Papa fix the roof, wearing his overalls.

Caleb worries that their house is too small, that he is too “loud and pesky.” But, of course, Sarah decides to stay.

The book is delightful because it is a story about family and love—and because it is a wonderful message to girls that they don’t have to be beautiful and mild mannered to live happily ever after.

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