Skylark

( 4 )

Overview

My mother, Sarah, doesn't love the prairie. She tries, but she can't help remembering what she knew first.

Sarah came to the prairie from Maine to marry Papa. But that summer, a drought turned the land dry and brown. Fires swept across the fields and coyotes came to the well in search of water. So Sarah took Anna and Caleb back east, where they would be safe. Papa stayed behind. He would not leave his land.

Maine was beautiful, but Anna missed ...

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Skylark

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Overview

My mother, Sarah, doesn't love the prairie. She tries, but she can't help remembering what she knew first.

Sarah came to the prairie from Maine to marry Papa. But that summer, a drought turned the land dry and brown. Fires swept across the fields and coyotes came to the well in search of water. So Sarah took Anna and Caleb back east, where they would be safe. Papa stayed behind. He would not leave his land.

Maine was beautiful, but Anna missed home, and Papa. And as the weeks went by, she began to wonder what would happen if the rains never came. Would she and Caleb and Sarah and Papa ever be a family again?

When a drought tests the commitment of a mail-order bride from Maine to her new home on the prairie, her stepchildren hope they will be able to remain a family.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
Skylark is one sequel that is as successful as the original.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Patricia MacLachlan is a master at creating atmosphere in a story. In Skylark, drought is devastating their land and Sarah and Jacob agree that she return to Maine with Anna and Caleb. The children enjoy the rugged seacoast and like Sarah's family, but they miss their father and their home. This family has written their name in that prairie land and they must return. Just as in Sarah, Plain and Tall, MacLachlan's style is terse, poetic and underscored with deep feelings for her characters. 1995 (orig.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Newbery-award winning author Patricia MacLachlan has often included older protagonists in her books. The aunts, many times referred to in Newbery-award winning Sarah Plain and Tall, are actual characters in the sequel, Skylark. When Sarah, Anna and Caleb leave the prairie to escape the sorrows of drought, they are in need of much nurturing. To be sure, the three aunts they stay with are a source of nurture and security, but they are first individuals. Lou wears hip boots and skinny dips, and even Mattie who dresses in silk always has bare feet. It's an older generation that escapes stereotyping. "A lot of times in books," MacLachlan says, " I have seen older people portrayed as fools, or foolish people. I think that's a little cliched and I knew I wanted to do something different. I'm not quite sure where the aunts came from, but I like them. If you go up into New England, or down South or out on the prairie, you're going to find people like them... honest, individual and eccentric people." MacLachlan offers the young older heroines who model a sureness and belief in their individuality. The children in Skylark, Caleb and Anna find strength and support in this very quality.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064406222
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Series: Sarah, Plain and Tall Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 55,081
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.63 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include Arthur, For the Very First Time; The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt; Skylark; Caleb's Story; More Perfect Than the Moon; Grandfather's Dance; Word After Word After Word; and Kindred Souls. She is also the author of many much-loved picture books, including Three Names; All the Places to Love; What You Know First; Painting the Wind; Bittle; Who Loves Me?; Once I Ate a Pie; I Didn't Do It; Before You Came; and Cat Talk—several of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily. She lives with her husband and two border terriers in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Stand on that stump, Caleb. Anna, you next to him. That will be a good family picture."

Joshua, the photographer, looked through his big camera at us as we stood on the porch squinting in the sunlight. Caleb wore a white shirt, his hair combed slick to his head, Sarah in a white dress, Papa looking hot and uneasy in his suit. The lace at my neck itched in the summer heat. We had to be still for so long that Caleb began to whistle softly, making Sarah smile.

Far off in the distance the dogs, Nick and Lottie, walked slowly through the dry prairie grass. They walked past the cow pond nearly empty of water, past the wagon, past the chickens in the yard. Nick saw us first, then Lottie, and they began to run. Caleb looked sideways at me as they jumped the fence and ran to us, running up to stand between Sarah and Papa as if they wanted to be in the picture, too. We tried not to laugh, but Sarah couldn't help it. She looked up at Papa and he smiled down at her. And Joshua took the picture of us all laughing, Papa smiling at Sarah.

Joshua laughed, too.

"Your aunts will like that picture," he said to Sarah.

Sarah fanned herself.

"They hardly know what I look like anymore," she said softly. "I hardly know what they look like anymore."

I looked at Caleb. I knew Caleb didn't like to think about Sarah and her aunts and her brother and the sea she had left behind.

"It's Maine you came from, isn't it?" said Joshua.

"Yes," said Sarah.

"She lives here now," said Caleb loudly.

Papa put his hand on Caleb's head.

"That she does," said Joshua, smiling.

He turned and looked out over the cornfield, the plants so dry they rattled inthe wind.

"But I bet Maine is green," Joshua said in a low voice. He, looked out over the land with a faraway took, as if he were somewhere else. "We sure could use rain. I remember a long time ago, you remember it, Jacob. The water dried up, the fields so dry that the leaves fell like dust. And then the winds came. My grandfather packed up his family and left."

"Did he come back?'' asked Caleb.

Joshua turned.

"No," he said, "he never came back."

Joshua packed up the last of his things and got up in his wagon.

Papa looked at Sarah.

"It will rain," he said.

We watched the wagon go off down the road.

"It will rain," Papa repeated softly.

"Will you worry if it doesn't rain?" asked Caleb.

"Yes, but we'll get along," said Papa. "We always get along."

"Imagine having to leave," said Sarah.

Papa took off his jacket.

"We'd never leave, Sarah," he said. "We were born here. Our names are written in this land."

When Papa and Sarah went inside, Caleb looked at me. I knew what he was going to say, and I didn't want to hear it.

"Sarah wasn't born here," he said.

I picked up the pail of grain for the chickens.

"I know that, Caleb," I said crossly. "Papa knows it, too."

Caleb took a stick and bent down in the dirt. I watched him write SARA. He looked up at me.

"I'm writing Sarah's name in the land," he said.

"You can't even spell, Caleb," I said. "You can't."

I walked away. When I turned to look at Caleb, he was staring at me. I wanted to say I was sorry for being cross with him. But I didn't.


"Happily ever after," said Caleb when Papa married Sarah. "Now we'll live happily ever after. That's what the stories say."

Caleb said that all through the summer and the fall when the prairie grasses turned yellow,and through the first winter Sarab and Papa were married. He said it all winter long, when the wind blew around the corners of the house and ice sat slick on the windows. He said it when he fell tbrougb the ice on the slough and had to sit in a tub of warm water, his teeth chattering.

"I like the sound of it," Caleb told me. "Happily ever after."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Highly recommend. A must read with grandchildren!

    My 10 year old grandson kept talking about a book his teacher had read to the class. So I asked him what the name of the book was and was delighted to find it was Skylark. She also read Sarah Plain and tall to the class. He asked if we could get them and read them under the premise that his little sister might like them, so we did. We bought all 5 of them. We read Sarah Plain and Tall, Skylark, and Caleb's Story before they went home for the summer. Hopefully next summer we can read the last 2 in the series.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    I thought this book was GREAT!

    My favorite character is Caleb because I like to ask qestions. I liked the time my character asked one of his aunts what sprinting was. Another one of his aunts replied by saying, ¿This is what sprinting is, I¿m doing it right now!' His aunt was running down the sidewalk with a bathrobe on. Another time Caleb asked, 'what are you doing?' And she replied by saying 'I¿m going skinnydipping!' Then Caleb asked, 'You mean swimming naked?' Then his aunt said, 'You want to join me?' Then Caleb ran down to the deck with his aunt and called the others.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good

    Sequel to Sarah Plain and Tall where the family hopes for rain. Good ending.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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