Sarah, Plain and Tall (Sarah, Plain and Tall Saga #1)

by Patricia MacLachlan (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

This beloved Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan's chapter book series about the Witting family.

Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna's point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa's advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay?

This children's literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language. Sarah, Plain and Tallgently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.

Read the rest of the Sarah books by Patricia MacLachlan: Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect than the Moon, and Grandfather’s Dance.

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More books in the series - See All

Review quotes

"In a near-perfect miniature novel, two children experience the apprehensions and joys of the possibility of a new mother, when their father invites a mail-order bride to their prairie home." — "BL.""An exquisite, sometimes painfully touching tale."— "The New York Times"A book that is filed with wisdom, gentle humor and the practical concerns necessary for a satisfying life. Terse writing and poetic rhythm flow to create a tender story about the fragile beginnings of a family relationship on its way to permanence."— "School Library Jornal
Patricia MacLachlan

Patricia MacLachlan (1938-2022) was the award-winning author of many novels for children, including the Newbery Medal and Scott O'Dell Award-winning Sarah, Plain and Tall, which was adapted into a Hallmark television movie starring Glenn Close and Christopher Walken. She co-wrote the teleplay for the film as well as for two sequels, Skylark and Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End, based on her novels.

Honored with a Christopher Award and a National Humanities Medal among many others, MacLachlan was also the author of Baby, Waiting for the Magic, The Truth of Me, and the picture books Someone Like Me (illustrated by Chris Sheban), and The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse (illustrated by Hadley Hooper).

Chris Sheban has been awarded three gold and three silver medals from the Society of Illustrators. Some of the books he has illustrated are I Met a Dinosaur by Jan Wahl, Catching the Moon by Myla Goldberg, and What To Do With a Box by Jane Yolen. Someone Like Me is his first book with Roaring Brook Press.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2015
Sarah, Plain and Tall Saga
BISAC categories
JUV007000 - Juvenile Fiction | Classics
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV013080 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Blended Families
Library of Congress categories
Frontier and pioneer life
Witting family (Fictitious characters)
Mail order brides
Scott O Dell Award for Historical Fiction
Winner 1986 - 1986

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