Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sarah, Plain and Tall

I have to say that I love this book. One of the things that I love best about it is that the tone of the writing matches the setting so well--it's sparse and lonely and matches the desolate prairie in which they live. And yet there's stark beauty in it too.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about this, about authors who can write in such a way that the tone reflects the setting. (Tracy Chevalier does this in The Girl with a Pearl Earring and also with The Lady and the Unicorn, I think. Girl is austere like a Vermeer painting and Lady has a richer texture that matches the texture of a tapestry.)

Anyway, Sarah, Plain and Tall is told from the perspective of a young girl and because it's written in her voice, it's really accessible to children. This is something that my third grader would have no trouble reading on her own. The story is simple and plain--just like Sarah. Yet it's one that's also so lovely and real and romantic too.

This is a really short book--much shorter than any of the other Newbery books I've read thus far. You could easily read it in an evening or in an afternoon or two of sitting in the carpool line at school!

My youngest daughter and I also listened to this on CD last summer as we drove across the country. Glenn Close narrated it--a great "listen" if you've got a road trip coming up.

--Joanne (The Simple Wife)


Corinne said...

Joanne - I recently bought that book on tape! Now I'm excited to try it. I LOVE that book as well. I want to reread it. Maybe next... I love the movie that Glenn Close did. I saw that before I read the book and I was so pleased at how true to the text of the book the movie was.

Sandy D. said...

Two interesting tidbits from my trivia book:

"The only story Patricia MacLachlan remembers writing before age 35 was a school assignment. The entire story, including "THE END," was twelve words long."

and MacLachlan wrote Sarah for her mother, who had Alzheimer's disease.

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...


I love knowing that about this story. Was this based on her mother's own story, I wonder?

Thanks for sharing this cool information!