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Publisher's Summary

"Did Mama sing every day?" Caleb asks his sister Anna.

"Every-single-day", she answers. "Papa sang, too."

The Newbery Medal-winning Sarah, Plain and Tall is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan's chapter book series about the Witting family. Set in the late 19th 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 Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.

This collection includes the first three books in the series: Sarah, Plain and Tall; Skylark; and Caleb's Story.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Don't miss the next story about life on the Witting family farm. Make More Perfect Than the Moon your next listen.
©1985, 1994, 2001 Patricia MacLachlan (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

Newbery Medal Winner, 1986

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Missing Skylark, but still excellent

The 4 hours and 22 minutes includes Sarah, Plain and Tall and Caleb's Story, and an interview with the author. But there was no Skylark.

What was there was excellent, both the story and the narration. My six year old and nine year old listened raptly, as did I. I liked that it had a complicated family (mail order bride becomes a step mother), and complicated emotions, painted against a prairie farm back drop. It feels true.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What matters in the simple life

What made the experience of listening to Sarah, Plain and Tall Audio Collection the most enjoyable?

The feeling of hearing the children as real children, natural, vulnerable and brave enough to love, drew me right in. The slow warm growing of trust, and again, courage to love, and to find new ways of being together, a new family, and each part of it also an integral, developing being. Even the farm!And of course, Glenn Close reading to me. I could trust her voice to carry me through the rich textures with nary a false note. She reads, it feels, from the inside out.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sarah is my favourite - a role model too. How she sees clearly, thinks for herself, makes courageous decisions for her life and relationships, expresses grief without pretending, and gives each person and creature time to get to know and trust her. She lives, it seemed to me, from a clear inner core of self-knowledge and inner security to risk comfort and love.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The crayons - taking the sea with me...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story

This is in the vain of Little House on the Prairie but more grown up. There were real emotions shared with the characters

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story and performance

A story of family of a different time in history. A story of love, blended families , relationships and the importance of forgiveness. Recommend for any age.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite audio book,because it appeals to all ages.A lovely story of brave people who work and enjoy each other..Its narrated

It's beautifully narrated by Glen Close and a love story that shows h ow one family survives when the odds are against them.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome

Loved it. It was a great audible book. It reminded me of the movies. Thank you.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • Randwick, Australia
  • 09-08-13

Just lovely

This collection of three stories is delightful; I didn't know anything about 'Skylark' and 'Caleb's Story' so these were bonus treats for me. Lovely performance by Glenn Close.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sweet book, good listen

Any additional comments?

I have always loved Glenn Close and she fleshed out what was a bit of a plain (three way pun intended) story. I remember reading the first of these books when I was just starting on chapter books and I was a but underwhelmed even then. My young niece and I listened to about half of the selection on our way to and from her summer day camp but I was so captivated by GC's story telling that I finished the rest of it myself after the trips had ceased.