SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL. Patricia MacLachlan. Winner of the Newbery Medal. “ Did Mama sing every day?” asked Caleb. "Every-single- day?'' He sat close to. SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL Patricia MacLachlan Winner of the Newbery Medal “ Did Mama sing every day?” asked Caleb. "Every-single- day?" He sat close to. Scholastic BookFiles: A Reading Guide to Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan/Danielle Denega. p. cm. Summary: Discusses the writing, characters .

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This beloved Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan's chapter book series about the Witting in the late ni. Sarah, Plain & Tall. Choosing Kansas or Maine-. Make a visual aid depicting the geography of your state. Show me everything you can possibly imagine! What is . from the same study guide. Sale of any printed copy from this CD is strictly and specifically prohibited. Sarah, Plain and Tall Study Guide. A Progeny Press Study .

Caleb climbed up onto the porch roof and shaded his eyes. The wagon passed the fenced field, and the cows and sheep looked up, too. It rounded the windmill and the barn and the windbreak of Russian olive that Mama had planted long ago. Nick began to bark, then Lottie, and the wagon clattered into the yard and stopped by the steps.

And it was quiet. Sarah stepped down from the wagon, a cloth bag in her hand. She reached up and took off her yellow bonnet, smoothing back her brown hair into a bun. She was plain and tall. Lottie lay down, her head on her paws, staring. Nick leaned down to sniff. Then he lay down, too. Her hands were large and rough. She gave Caleb a shell— a moon snail, she called it— that was curled and smelled of salt. He looked up at Sarah. But the land rolls a little like the sea.

And I knew that Caleb had seen it, too. Sarah was not smiling. Sarah was already lonely. In a month's time the preacher might come to marry Sarah and Papa. And a month was a long time. Time enough for her to change her mind and leave us. Papa took Sarah's bags inside, where her room was ready with a quilt on the bed and blue flax dried in a vase on the night table.

Seal stretched and made a small cat sound. I watched her circle the dogs and sniff the air. Caleb came out and stood beside me. I shook my head, turning the white stone over and over in my hand. I wished everything was as perfect as the stone. I wished that Papa and Caleb and I were perfect for Sarah. I wished we had a sea of our own. Lottie slept beside her bed, curled in a soft circle, and Nick leaned his face on the covers in the morning, watching for the first sign that Sarah was awake.

No one knew where Seal slept. Seal was a roamer.

Sarah's collection of shells sat on the windowsill. And a conch shell. If you put it to your ear you can heat the sea.

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Papa listened, too. Then Sarah listened once more, with a look so sad and far away that Caleb leaned against me. Papa was quiet and shy with Sarah, and so was I. But Caleb talked to Sarah from morning until the light left the sky.

Sarah, Plain and Tall

And we can have flowers all winter long. There were buds on the wild roses that climbed up the paddock fence. I looked to see if she knew what I was thinking. Summer was when the wedding would be. Might be. Sarah and Papa's wedding. We hung the flowers from the ceiling in little bunches. Caleb smiled at the name. He made up a song. Woolly ragwort grows and grows, Woolly ragwort in your nose. Seal sat on a kitchen chair and watched us with yellow eyes.

We ate Sarah's stew, the late light coming through the windows. Papa had baked bread that was still warm from the fire. After dinner Sarah told us about William. There are three aunts who live near us. They wear silk dresses and no shoes. You would love them. Seal batted some hair around the porch as the dogs watched. Later we can look for nests of curls. No one else saw, but I found him behind the barn, tossing the pieces of hair into the wind for the birds. Sarah brushed my hair and tied it up in back with a rose velvet ribbon she had brought from Maine.

She brushed hers long and free and tied it back, too, and we stood side by side looking into the mirror. I looked taller, like Sarah, and fair and thin. And with my hair pulled back I looked a little like her daughter.

Sarah's daughter. And then it was time for singing. Sarah sang us a song we had never heard before as we sat on the porch, insects buzzing in the dark, the rustle of cows in the grasses. It was called "Sumer Is Icumen in," and she taught it to us all, even Papa, who sang as if he had never stopped singing.

He said it "soomer," the way Sarah had said it. Caleb and I looked at each other. Summer was coming. You know, I've never touched one. She smiled and leaned back in her chair. Real seals. They are cool and slippery and they slide through the water like fish. They can cry and sing.

And sometimes they bark, a little like dogs. And Lottie and Nick came running from the barn to jump up on Sarah and lick her face and make her laugh.

Sarah stroked them and scratched their ears and it was quiet again. She sighed, then she began to sing the summer song again. Far off in a field, a meadowlark sang, too. She sank her fingers into their thick, coarse wool. She talked to them, running with the lambs, letting them suck on her fingers. She named them after her favorite aunts, Harriet and Mattie and Lou. She lay down in the field beside them and sang "Sumer Is Icumen in," her voice drifting over the meadow grasses, carried by the wind.

She cried when we found a lamb that had died, and she shouted and shook her fist at the turkey buzzards that came from nowhere to eat it. She would not let Caleb or me come near. And that night, Papa went with a shovel to bury the sheep and a lantern to bring Sarah back. She sat on the porch alone. Nick crept up to lean against her knees. After dinner, Sarah drew pictures to send home to Maine. She began a charcoal drawing of the fields, rolling like the sea rolled.

She drew a sheep whose ears were too big. And she drew a windmill. And there are hills covered with pine and spruce trees, green with needles. But William and I found a sand dune all our own.

It was soft and sparkling with bits of mica, and when we were little we would slide down the dune into the water. Papa stood up. He took the lantern and went out the door to the barn. He ran ahead, Sarah and I following, the dogs close behind. Next to the barn was Papa's mound of hay for bedding, nearly half as tall as the barn, covered with canvas to keep the rain from rotting it.

Papa carried the wooden ladder from the barn and leaned it against the hay.

The dogs looked up at her, waiting. Sell brushed against her legs, her tail in the air. Caleb reached over and took her hand. She climbed to the very top of the hay and sat, looking down at us. Above, the stars were coming out. Papa piled a bed of loose hay below with his pitchfork.

The light of the lantern made his eyes shine when he smiled up at Sarah. She lifted her arms over her head and slid down, down, into the soft hay. She lay, laughing, as the dogs rolled beside her.

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And Sarah did it three more times. At last Papa slid down, too, as the sky grew darker and the stars blinked like fireflies. We were covered with hay and dust, and we sneezed. In the kitchen, Caleb and I washed in the big wooden tub and Sarah drew more pictures to send to William. One was of Papa, his hair curly and full of hay.

She drew Caleb, sliding down the hay, his arms like Sarah's over his head. And she drew a picture of me in the tub, my hair long and straight and wet. She looked at her drawing of the fields for a long time. He said nothing, but his mouth formed the words I had heard, too.

Our dune. The cows moved close to the pond, where the water was cool and there were trees. Papa taught Sarah how to plow the fields, guiding the plow behind Jack and Old Bess, the reins around her neck. When the chores were done we sat in the meadow with the sheep, Sarah beside us, watching Papa finish. Old Bess nodded her head as she walked, but we could hear Papa speak sharply to Jack.

She lay back in the grass with her arms under her head.

How do you get to school? Or we walk the three miles when there is not too much snow. Caleb grinned. I frowned. I loved winter.

Papa builds a warm fire, and we bake hot biscuits and put on hundreds of sweaters. And if the snow is too high, we stay home from school and make snow people. Wind and wind and wind! Sarah and I watched him jump over rock and gullies, the sheep behind him, stiff legged and fast. He circled the field, the sun making the top of his hair golden. He collapsed next to Sarah, and the lambs pushed their wet noses into us. Let's swim. But Sarah had grabbed our hands and we were running through the fields, ducking under the fence to the far pond.

She took off her dress and waded into the water in her petticoat. She dived suddenly and disappeared for a moment as Caleb and I watched. She came up, laughing, her hair streaming free. Water beads sat on her shoulders. She tried to teach us how to float. I sank like a bucket filled with water and came up sputtering. But Caleb lay on his back and learned how to blow streams of water high in the air like a whale.

The cows stood on the banks of the pond and stared and stopped their chewing. Water bugs circled us. Sarah treaded water. It gleams like the sun on glass. There are waves. Crows flew over, three in a row. And I could hear a killdeer in the field. We climbed the bank and dried ourselves and lay in the grass again.

The cows watched, their eyes sad in their dinner-plate faces. And I slept, dreaming a perfect dream. The fields had turned to a sea that gleamed like sun on glass. And Sarah was happy. The summer roses were opening. Our neighbors, Matthew and Maggie, came to help Papa plow up a new field for corn.

Sarah stood with us on the porch, watching their wagon wind up the road, two horses pulling it and one tied in back. I remembered the last time we had stood here alone, Caleb and I, waiting for Sarah. Sarah's hair was in thick braids that circled her head, wild daisies tucked here and there. Papa had picked them for her. Old Bess and Jack ran along the inside of the fence, whickering at the new horses.

Maggie emptied the sack into the yard and three red banty chickens clucked and scattered. She clucked back to them and fed them grain. They followed her, shuffling and scratching primly in the dirt. I knew they would not be for eating.

The children were young and named Rose and Violet, after flowers. They hooted and laughed and chased the chickens, who flew up to the porch roof, then the dogs, who crept quietly under the porch.

Seal had long ago fled to the barn to sleep in cool hay. Sarah and Maggie helped hitch the horses to the plow, then they set up a big table in the shade of the barn, covering it with a quilt and a kettle of flowers in the middle. They sat on the porch while Caleb and Matthew and Papa began their morning of plowing.

I mixed biscuit dough just inside the door, watching. Sarah's eyes filled with tears. Slowly I stirred the dough. Maggie reached over and took Sarah's hand.

Do not miss the hills, Maggie, I thought.

Do not miss the hills. Do not miss the sea. I stirred and stirred the dough. The house is hers now. Not mine any longer. There are three old aunts who all squawk together like crows at dawn. I miss them, too. Rose and Violet ran in the fields. I felt something brush my legs and looked down at Nick, wagging his tail. Wherever you are. Sarah smiled. And nasturtiums the color of the sun when it sets.

I don't know if nasturtiums would grow here. Lottie and Nick came to sniff, and the chickens walked in the dirt, leaving prints. In the fields, the horses pulled the plow up and down under the hot summer sun. Maggie wiped her face, leaving a streak of dirt. I have tansy. And Jacob. Matthew and Papa and Caleb came in from the fields, their work done. We all ate in the shade. Maggie misses her friends sometimes. Rose and Violet fell asleep in the grass, their bellies full of meat and greens and biscuits.

And when it was time to go, Papa and Matthew lifted them into the wagon to sleep on blankets. Sarah walked slowly behind the wagon for a long time, waving, watching it disappear. Caleb and I ran to bring her back, the chickens running wildly behind us. I smiled. I was right. The chickens would not be for eating. And then Papa came, just before the rain, bringing Sarah the first roses of summer. And the air grew still. In the morning, Sarah dressed in a pair of over-alls and went to the barn to have an argument with Papa.

She took apples for Old Bess and Jack. Papa stood by the fence. By myself. She fed him an apple. Caleb and I stood behind Sarah. I will ride Jack. Papa shook his head. Papa smiled.

I have already taught you how to plow. Papa looked up at the clouds. A portion of it is loose. And there's a storm coming. I know about roofs. I am a good carpenter. Remember, I told you? And they climbed the ladder to the roof, Sarah with wisps of hair around her face, her mouth full of nails, overalls like Papa's. Overalls that were Papa's. Caleb and I went inside to close the windows. We could hear the steady sound of hammers pounding the roof overhead. Tears gathered at the corners of my eyes.

But there was no time to cry, for suddenly Papa called out. Papa slid down the roof, helping Sarah after him. He held up his arms and Sarah jumped off the porch roof. And the cows.

The barn is safest. There was a hiss of wind, a sudden pungent smell. Our faces looked yellow in the strange light. Caleb and I jumped over the fence and found the animals huddled by the barn.

I counted the sheep to make sure they were all there, and herded them into a large stall. A few raindrops came, gentle at first, then stronger and louder, so that Caleb and I covered our ears and stared at each other without speaking. Caleb looked frightened and I tried to smile at him. Sarah carried a sack into the barn, her hair wet and streaming down her neck, Papa came behind, Lottie and Nick with him, their ears hard against their heads.

But Sarah had already run from the barn into a sheet of rain. My father followed her. The sheep nosed open their stall door and milled around the barn, bleating. Nick crept under my arm, and a lamb, Mattie with the black face, stood close to me, trembling. There was a soft paw on my lap, then a gray body.

And then, as the thunder pounded and the wind rose and there was the terrible crackling of lightning close by, Sarah and Papa stood in the barn doorway, wet to the skin.

Papa carried Sarah's chickens. Sarah came with an armful of summer roses. Sarah's chickens were not afraid, and they settled like small red bundles in the hay. Papa closed the door at last, shutting out some of the sounds of the storm. Swords of Joseph Swords of Joseph. Exile Exile. Book Pair Book Pair. Children's Book and Media Review , Aug Kristie Hinckley. A PDF file should load here. If you do not see its contents the file may be temporarily unavailable at the journal website or you do not have a PDF plug-in installed and enabled in your browser.

This is a preview of a remote PDF: Toggle navigation. Anna and Caleb are two young children living in a small home on the prairie.

Sarah, a plain and tall woman from Maine responds to the ad in the paper. She promises to stay for a month to see how they get along. The children desperately want a mother, but are afraid to get their hopes up.The hundredth time this year!

It rounded the windmill and the barn and the windbreak of Russian olive that Mama had planted long ago. Mama died the next morning. There are three old aunts who all squawk together like crows at dawn. The neighbors, Matthew and Maggie, come for the day to help Papa plow a field.

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