Sarah, Plain and Tall
Caleb and Anna’s dad placed and ad for a wife. When a letter comes from a woman Sarah, Caleb and Anna are nervous if she would fit into their lives. Sarah decides after a few letters to come spend a month with the family to see if things would work. Will she be able to give up what she loves and grow used to the ways of prairie life, or does she return her love, the sea?
- Caleb asks Anna questions about their deceased mother, questions that Anna has answered many times before.
- He tells the story of his birth as if he remembers it, trying to remember what his mother was like.
- Anna and Caleb’s father tell them that he put out an ad for a new wife and ‘mother’ for the children.
- Sarah, a woman from Maine replies. She shares about her life by the sea and inquires about the children.
- The family responds, and it goes back and forth for a little bit.
- Finally Sarah decides it is time to visit. If things work out after a month Sarah and Papa will be married.
- The children are very nervous, they wonder if Sarah will like them and like the prairie life.
- Sarah brings presents from the sea for the children, and has her own things that remind her of it as well.
- As they get to know each other they grow to love and appreciate each other.
- One very important thing to the children is that Sarah sings, because their mother used to sing. The first song Sarah shares with the kids is about a flower when she and the kids are out picking flowers.
- Sarah cuts their hair and shares stories, they end up discussing their first words and Sarah said that hers was dune.
- Papa made a dune out of hay for Sarah to slide down, to remember the cliffs near the sea.
- Sarah learns how to plow and do other things on the farm. She even receives plants for a garden from their neighbor. Over time she comes to realize that things aren’t too different in the prairie than by the sea.
- Sarah wants to learn how to ride a horse so she can go into town. Caleb fears she wants to leave them.
- A squall comes and they stay in the barn all night. Sarah says there are squalls in Maine too.
- Caleb asks what color the sea is during a squall and Sarah responded: blue and grey and green.
- Sarah ends up going to town and Caleb is scared she will not return. Anna says she will because she left her cat behind. All day Caleb lets out what is wrong with him and why she would want to leave them.
- Sarah comes back and everyone is excited. From town she brought back colored pencils, blue, grey and green…Sarah had brought the sea.
I did not really relate to the book. However, it would be a great topic in the classroom. Children will be able to discuss how it feels to have a new parent-figure in their lives. It also gives us an opportunity to discuss how things were different in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. - AF