Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan: This book is a short, quick read but a very moving and sweet story. Although I read it so fast, I loved it. It is set in the late nineteenth century and told from the point of view of one of two children, Anna. She is the older sister. Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes all the way from Maine to the prairie to answer Anna’s Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother (their mother died when her little brother was born). Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. What will she be like? Will she be nice? Will she sing? Most importantly, will she stay? I enjoyed that we see the children’s perspective and we are shown the difference in character between the brother and sister. Little Caleb shows all his emotions, desperately wanting Sarah to stay but afraid that their house is too small, or that he is too loud and annoying. Anna hopes too, but she is much more cautious and watchful. The story seems to focus mostly on relationships and how characters interact. I think the story is really beautifully told. It is simple but full of hope and fear and love. It also touches on the theme of loss. I really liked the historical setting on the prairies, it is nice to imagine life in a different time. There was lots of detail included to help picture this way of life. I think this book is excellent for readers aged between 6 and 8, or for younger readers too if someone is reading it aloud to them.
Stacey R, age 10, Denver USA