Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall

4.2 140
by Patricia MacLachlan
     
 

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"Did Mama sing every day?"
Caleb asks his sister Anna.
"Every-single-day," she answers.
"Papa sang, too."

Their mother died the day after Caleb was born. Their house on the prairie is quiet now, and Papa doesn't sing anymore. Then Papa puts an ad in the paper, asking for a wife, and he receives a letter from one Sarah

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Overview

"Did Mama sing every day?"
Caleb asks his sister Anna.
"Every-single-day," she answers.
"Papa sang, too."

Their mother died the day after Caleb was born. Their house on the prairie is quiet now, and Papa doesn't sing anymore. Then Papa puts an ad in the paper, asking for a wife, and he receives a letter from one Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton, of Maine. Papa, Anna, and Caleb write back. Caleb asks if she sings.

Sarah decides to come for a month. She writes Papa: I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall, and Tell them I sing. Anna and Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she like them? Will she stay?

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
An exquisite, sometimes painfully touching tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780064402057
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/1987
Series:
Sarah, Plain and Tall Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
49,663
Product dimensions:
5.18(w) x 7.59(h) x 0.23(d)
Lexile:
560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Did: Mama sing every day?" asked Caleb. "Every-single-day? " He sat dose to the fire, his chin in his hand. It was dusk, and the dogs lay beside him on the warm, hearthstones.

"Every-single-day," I told him for the second time this week. For the twentieth time this month. The hundredth time this year? And the past few years?

"And did Papa sing, too?"

"Yes. Papa sang, too. Don't get so close, Caleb. You'll heat up."

He, pushed his chair back. It made a hollow scraping sound on the hearthstones, and the dogs stirred. Lottie, muff and black, wagged her tail and lifted her head., Nick slept on.

I turned the bread dough over and over on the marble slab on the kitchen table.

"Well, Papa doesn't sing anymore," said Caleb very softly. A log broke apart and crackled in the fireplace. He looked up at me. "What did I look like when I was born?"

"You didn't have any clothes on," I told him.

I know that," he said.

"You looked like this." I held the bread dough up in a round pale ball.

"I had hair, " said Caleb seriously.

"Not enough to talk about," I said.

"And she named me Caleb," he went on, filling in the old familiar story.

"I would have named you Troublesome,"' I said, making Caleb smile.

"And Mama handed me to you in the yellow blanket and said . . ." He waited for me to finish the story. "And said ... ? "

I sighed. "And Mama said, 'Isn't he beautiful, Anna? I "

"And I was," Caleb finished.

Caleb thought the story was over, and 1, didn't tell him what I had really thought. He was homely and plain, and he had a terrible holler and ahorrid smell. But these were not the worst of him. Mama died the next morning. That was the worst thing about Caleb.

"Isn't he beautiful, Anna? " Her last words to me, I had gone to bed thinking how wretched he looked. And I forgot to say good night.

I wiped my hands on my apron and went to the window. Outside, the prairie reached out and touched the places where the sky came down. Though winter was -nearly over, there were patches of -snow and ice everywhere. I looked at the long dirt road that crawled across the plains, remembering the morning that Mama had died, cruel and sunny. They had come for her in a wagon and, taken her away to be buried. And then the cousins and aunts and uncles had come and tried to fill up the house. But they couldn't.

Slowly, one, by one, they left. And then the days seemed long and dark like winter days, even though it wasn't winter. And Papa didn't sing.

Sarah, Plain and Tall. Copyright © by Patricia MacLachlan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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