Friday, August 7, 2009

Retro Friday Review: Sarah Plain and Tall

For today’s edition of Retro Friday I chose Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. I think one of the main reasons why I enjoyed this book was because of the circumstances in which it was read. I must have been around seven or eight, my Dad was at work and my three older brothers were out of the house, leaving my mom all to myself. I remember curling up next to my mom on our living room couch and having her read this book to me, cover to cover. It’s only 64 pages, but at the time I thought it was so long and was totally absorbed in the story. Sitting there reading with my mom is one of my favorite memories, and again, probably a big reason why I loved this book so much.

First published in 1987, this is the story of Sarah. The book takes place in the late 19th century, long before internet dating came about. Jacob, who has lost his wife and has two young children, decides he needs another wife. He places an ad in an Eastern newspaper hoping to locate a new mother for his children. After some correspondence with Sarah they decide to have her move out to his farm for a month-long trial. During this trial period the kids fall for Sarah and a relationship is slowly formed between Jacob and Sarah as well. As the month comes to an end the kids are worried that Sarah won’t want to stay and when she leaves they really begin to worry. She does return, with colored pencils to draw pictures of her home in Maine and explains to them that she would rather be their mother than return to her home. This is a sweet story about love and family. I’ve read a lot of reviews that thought it was a boring book, but I enjoyed it.

While researching this one I realized that this was actually the first in a series of five books. I guess I’ll have to go out and read the rest and see what happens with Sarah and her cute family.

Reading Order:
Book One: Sarah Plain and Tall
Book Two: Skylark
Book Three: Caleb’s Story
Book Four: More Perfect Than the Moon
Book Five: Grandfather’s Dance

Other Retro Friday Reviews:


  1. I loved this one as well. Read it with my mom and we both thought it was lovely. I haven't read the sequels, though I did see the movie with Glenn Close as Sarah.

  2. Thanks! I own this, purchased purely because I (1) loved the movie with Glenn Close and (2) collect childrens books for my kids. I haven't read it to the kids yet (mine are 6yr/old/boy and 4yr/old/girl) but perhaps it's time to try a 'chapter book' with them and why not start with this? Thanks again. ;o)


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