Read This Book

[3/3] Read This Book: SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL by Patricia MacLachlan

Welcome to Read This Book, the newsletter where I recommend a book you should add to your TBR, STAT! I stan variety in all things, and my book recommendations will be no exception. These must-read books will span genres and age groups. There will be new releases, oldie but goldies from the backlist, and the classics you may have missed in high school. Oh my! If you’re ready to diversify your books, then LEGGO!!

Hey fellow book nerd, it’s time to celebrate another literary birthday! Today, we are wishing a very happy 83rd birthday to Patricia MacLachlan! She is the American children’s writer best known for Sarah, Plain and Tall, which won the 1986 Newbery Medal along with the 1986 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and the 1986 Golden Kite Award. 

Sarah Plain and Tall Book Coer

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Told through the point of view of Anna Witting, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Wheaton moved from Maine to the American Midwest in response to an ad for a wife and mother. Anna’s younger brother Caleb is excited about the prospect of a new mother, but memories of their mother who died giving birth to Caleb make Anna apprehensive.

What I enjoyed most about Sarah, Plain and Tall was not only the plain, straightforward story, but also how it touched upon the death of a parent at a young age and the introduction of a stepparent. It was understandable to a young reader while not being too simplified for an adult reader. I also liked reading a story where there wasn’t overt hostility between Sarah and the children. Yes, Anna still has memories of her mother who died while giving birth to her brother Caleb, but she still seems somewhat open to the possibility of a new mother in Sarah. I also enjoyed Sarah as a whole. Although she eagerly answered the call for a mail-order bride, which on its face seems anti-feminist, Sarah gave me feminist hero vibes through her many interactions with Jacob from insisting on wearing overalls to riding horses. I loved to see hear it.

If you are looking for a heartwarming, but short comfort read, then Sarah, Plain and Tall is a good choice. In just a few short chapters, not only will you fall in love with the Witting family, you will absolutely adore this current version of the family. By the end of the book, you’ll be wishing for more. Lucky for us, MacLachlan was kind enough to add four more books to the series. 

Until next time bookish friends,


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