Cassie, the imaginative eight-year-old daughter of Sarah (from Sarah, Plain and Tall), narrates the fourth tale in the series, More Perfect than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan. The girl writes her observations on prairie life (which she twists into funny, invented stories) into her journal, and is stunned to find out that her mother is pregnant again and must reconcile her feelings of abandonment. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The Witting family returns in this fourth book about a family first made famous in Sarah, Plain and Tall. Sarah and Jacob are still on the farm. Jacob's father lives with them, as do their children Caleb and Cassie. Their oldest daughter, Anna, lives in town, works for the doctor and is engaged to be married soon. Caleb, narrator of the last Witting book, Caleb's Story, is too busy with farm work to keep his journal any longer. He has passed it along to eight-year-old Cassie, who takes her writing very seriously. So dedicated is she to putting words on the page that sometimes she makes up stories just to have something to write. Soon, though, change comes to the farm, and finding a subject to write about isn't a problem anymore. Sarah is pregnant, and Cassie has a lot to think about. Her journal is a good place to write out her thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, all her writing will help Sarah come to terms with the idea of this new, "terrible baby." Returning to the Witting farm in this book is like returning home again. The heartwarming story of a family's love is tenderly shared in Patricia MacLachlan's always pitch-perfect, lyrical style. 2004, Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.
Heidi Hauser Green
Gr 3-5-Another heartwarming installment in the saga of the Witting family, first made famous in Sarah, Plain and Tall (HarperCollins, 1985). In this fourth book, Anna is working with Dr. Sam in town and is engaged to Justin, and Caleb is busy on the farm, so it is the youngest member of the family's turn to keep a journal. Cassie, almost in third grade, is a watcher, a listener, and a writer. While Caleb scoffs at her stories as not being true, Cassie defends her imaginative entries as "my truth." When Sarah announces that she is going to have a baby, Cassie is angry, and worried that her mother won't have enough love left over for her. She is determined not to like the "terrible baby." As her loving family helps her come to terms with the inevitable birth, the journal entries provide a way for Cassie to blend "her truth" with the facts. In true MacLachlan fashion, the spare, graceful writing sparkles with fresh images, and the first-person point of view rests firmly with the child. While the pace is restrained, the exciting climax provides enough dramatic tension to keep readers' attention. A worthy companion to the earlier books.-Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Cassie, an almost-third-grader, has taken up the journal passed on by her much older brother Caleb. She is fascinated by words and uses the journal not only to record what is happening in her family, but in her vivid imagination as well. MacLachlan reintroduces the family of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Skylark, and Caleb's Story. Cassie is the much-loved daughter of Sarah and Jacob, and now there is to be a new addition to the family. Cassie writes about that "terrible baby" and vows never to like it. Of course, when her baby brother is born she accepts him as a gift "more perfect than the moon." The tale is charming and Cassie is a delightful narrator. Readers who have not encountered the characters in the previous works might not fully understand the family's dynamics, but they can certainly identify with her feelings about the new baby. If the power and deeply felt emotions of the original are missing, it remains a pleasant visit with old friends. (Fiction. 8-10)