Grandfather’s Dance by Patricia MacLachlan

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Title: Grandfather’s Dance by Patricia MacLachlan

Notable: Book #5 in the Sarah, Plain and Tall series

Premise:

This story picks up a short while after the previous one left off.  Jack is now a toddler/preschooler and acts just like his grandpa, John.  Cassie has come to terms with the family’s new addition and she can’t help but love her little brother.  Anna and Justin finally marry, which necessitates a visit from the Maine relatives.  The joyous mood is short-lived, however, when tragedy strikes.

My thoughts:

Well,  I finally finished the Sarah, Plain and Tall series!  It’s a bittersweet ending because I always feel sad when a story featuring some of my favorite characters comes to an end.

In this book, little Jack fairly worships the ground his grandfather walks on and tries to emulate him in all he does.  Poor grandfather is finding it harder and harder to keep up with the rest of the family because of his failing health.  Each family member has to confront the prospect of a future spent without their father/grandfather, and come to terms with that eventuality.

This is a good story for introducing kids to mortality and helping them see that death is an unavoidable part of life.  For kids who might be facing the loss of a grandparent, I think this could be a very cathartic read.  I’ll confess–it made me cry.

I recommend Grandfather’s Dance to kids who are reading beginner chapter books, or as a touching family read aloud.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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More Perfect than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan

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Title: More Perfect than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan

Notable: Book #4 in the Sarah, Plain and Tall series

Premise:

Cassie Witting is now the family member whose responsibility it is to write in the journal.  Cassie enjoys observing others and writing make-believe stories about them.  When Cassie finds out that Sarah is going to have a baby, she thinks the baby will come between herself and her mama.  She hopes that if she makes up her own story about the baby, perhaps nothing will change and that Sarah will still love her best.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book as a continuation of the previous three in the series.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t my favorite in the series.  I think it was because there was so very little that actually happened in the plot line.  It’s basically about Sarah getting pregnant, the difficulties she has as an older pregnant woman, and Cassie’s resentment about the new baby.  It’s a nicely done story, and I can see it being a good read for a child who isn’t thrilled with the idea of a new baby being added to their family.

Probably the most satisfying part of the story for me, was in seeing Grandfather’s role in the family expand.  In the last book he had just been fully admitted as a member of the Witting family, but in this book he has really found his position in the family.  He’s a confidant and mentor to the children, a helper to the adults, and a patriarch to the whole Witting family.

I recommend More Perfect than the Moon to kids who are reading beginner chapter books, or as a touching family read aloud.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

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Title: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Notable: Book #1 in the Sarah, Plain and Tall series; Newbery Medal winner, 1986

Premise:

Anna and Caleb live on the Great Plains with their father.  Their mother died after Caleb’s birth, and their father has never quite recovered from the loss.  One day, Papa informs the children that he has advertised for a wife and a lady named Sarah has responded.  Sarah agrees to visit them on a trial basis to see if things will work out.  Anna and Caleb become attached to Sarah, but they’re terrified that she will decide to go back to her brother’s home in Maine.

My thoughts:

I read this book when I was a kid and it’s just as good today as it was back then.  It’s amazing how such a touching story can be contained in such a short book.  My copy is a mere 58 pages.

I feel so sorry for poor Anna and Caleb who are pining for a mother’s love and for their father to recover some of his joy again.  When Sarah sweeps into their lives, she’s like a breath of fresh air.  She tells them about her beloved far-off sea and the creatures who live there.  They go swimming in the cow pond, slide down a hay “dune,” and Papa teaches Sarah to ride horse and drive the wagon.  But when Sarah visits town by herself, the children worry that she won’t return.

It’s that climactic final scene when Sarah returns and reassures the family that she intends to stay, when your heartstrings are tugged the most.  I just love this touching story about loss, hope, family and new beginnings.  It’s a beautiful story.  🙂

I recommend Sarah, Plain and Tall to kids who are reading beginner chapter books, or as a poignant family read-aloud.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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