Winner of the John Newbery Medal, Sarah Plain and Tall is a delight. I’ve said it before about many other books, but it remains true of this little gem.
Written for children, this book takes us through the emotional story of a little prairie family who lost their mother and hopes to find another.
A difficult childbirth left the young farmer with an infant, Caleb, a little girl, Anna, and no wife. Everything changed that day, but the young farmer struggled on for years, trying to make the best of the situation. Loneliness, perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work his farm requires, or simply concern for his children led Jacob, also known as Papa, to advertise for a wife. The one reply he received surprised the entire family. Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton from Maine answered his ad.
Sarah seems to be forthright, honest, funny, and a definite possibility. She further adds to her appeal by writing letters to each of the children as well as the father. After exchanging a few letters, Sarah agrees to come to the prairie to meet the family, see the farm, and let everybody concerned decide if Sarah should come to be wife and mother to the small family.
The author did an excellent job of showing the personality, values, and emotions of each character. Sarah described herself as plain and tall, but she is so much more. She is funny. She is kind. She is thoughtful. She is practical. She works very hard She loves, loves, loves animals and she sings, which is important to young Caleb.
Caleb, who never knew his mother, is desperate for one. This time is hardest on him because he is deathly afraid of offending Sarah, causing her to refuse the family.
My heart went out to the little boy as I read through the story.
Written for children, this book does an amazing job of developing characters which you will fall in love with yourself. You will get to know Sarah, Jacob, and the children at the same time as you watch them learn about one another. In this time when it seems so strange to take out an ad in the newspaper but online dating is common, this book serves as an excellent reminder that getting to know people can be pure.
We used this book as an example of showing character without directly telling about it. It was an excellent example for our Middle School Writing class. I hope you will take the time and share this excellent book with your older elementary or middle school students.
Would you like to read more book reviews? Visit our website, Joyful and Successful Homeschooling's Book Reviews Page. You can read about more great books for you and your children to read.
We also have free reading lists for every member of your family. Check them out here: Joyful and Successful Homeschooling's Reading Lists.
You can learn more about teaching your children to read in Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, an incredible resource for all things homeschooling. Joyful and Successful Homeschooling can be purchase at Amazon. The E-book can be purchased at PayHip or Currclick.
We love books and hope your family does, too. Happy Reading!