Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
 

Book Summary

Anna's mother died after her little brother, Caleb, was born. There aren't many people living on the prairie in the 1800s. Anna's Papa writes a letter to a newspaper to say he is looking for a new wife. Anna and Caleb are excited to read the letter they receive from Sarah, but worried, too. What will she be like? Will she like them? Will she want to stay?


 
Sarah, Plain and Tall book cover
Sarah, Plain and Tall

Book Review

This is a short book with simple but beautiful language. It is a good vehicle to introduce children to the fact that their lives and daily challenges are very different than those of people in other time periods. While the idea of writing to a stranger to find a spouse may be discomfiting to modern audiences, it seems very natural to Anna and Caleb. We are also able to see Sarah's adjustment to the move, and how much she misses Maine through Anna's eyes.


Topics and Themes for this book:

 
  • Family Relationships
  • U.S. Prairie Life in the 1800s
 
  • Moving to Places with Different Weather and Landscapes
  • Being Open-Minded

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.


**Questions coming soon**

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