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Skylark (Sequel to "Sarah, Plain and Tall") Harper Trophy Paperback – August 3, 2004


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Skylark (Sequel to "Sarah, Plain and Tall") Harper Trophy + Sarah, Plain and Tall + Caleb's Story (Sarah, Plain and Tall Saga)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Trophy; 1st edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064406229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064406222
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. This successful sequel to Sarah Plain and Tall (1985), which was recently televised, has enough dramatic tension and character development to satisfy devoted fans of the first book. Mail-order bride Sarah goes back east with children Anna and Caleb, leaving husband Jacob, whose name is "written in the land," to deal with their drought-ridden farm. Sarah's home in Maine makes a favorable impression on the children, but they miss their father and fear they will never return to the prairie. Finally, Jacob comes to fetch them home: "Papa looked at Sarah. `It rained,' he said. `I never thought you'd come,' whispered Sarah. `It rained,' said Papa again, his voice so soft it could have been the wind I heard." MacLachlan packs a lot into this spare tale and never diverges from the child's point of view, even when showing adult behavior. The happy result is emotional impact without cloying sentimentality. Janice Del Negro --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

The eagerly awaited sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall, which has already appeared on TV with a script by MacLachlan. Papa and Sarah are now married, but a drought intrudes on the family's new happiness. They struggle to haul water, watch their discouraged neighbors depart, then lose their barn to a prairie fire. Determined to hang on, Papa stays behind to rebuild while Sarah (pregnant, downhearted, and longing for her birthplace) takes the children back to Maine to visit. The coast's different beauty fascinates the children, but they're homesick--and so is Sarah; but in time the rains return out west, and Papa comes to bring them home. As sequel and companion to the film, this does well enough; MacLachlan's prose is dependably graceful and evocative. Still, it's a disappointment: she has little that's new to say about these beloved characters, and for once she's written a book that isn't particularly innovative or insightful; like other film-first fiction, it consists of dialogue, visual descriptions, and scenes echoing their earlier incarnation, while logic is elided for the drama of the moment (How could Papa rebuild the barn alone? What did he do about water for the stock, once the creek was dry?). Not outstanding, but amiable; fans will rejoice, and there'll be no trouble selling the first printing of 50,000. (Fiction. 8-12) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massachusetts.

In Her Own Words..."One thing I've learned with age and parenting is that life comes in circles. Recently, I was having a bad time writing. I felt disconnected. I had moved to a new home and didn't feel grounded. The house, the land was unfamiliar to me. There was no garden yet. Why had I sold my old comfortable 1793 home? The one with the snakes in the basement, mice everywhere, no closets. I would miss the cold winter air that came in through the electrical sockets."

"I had to go this day to talk to a fourth-grade class, and I banged around the house, complaining. Hard to believe, since I am so mild mannered and pleasant, isn't it? What did I have to say to them? I thought what I always think when I enter a room of children. What do I know?"

"I plunged down the hillside and into town, where a group of fourth-grade children waited for me in the library, freshly scrubbed, expectant. Should I be surprised that what usually happens did so? We began to talk about place, our living landscapes. And I showed them my little bag of prairie dirt from where I was born. Quite simply, we never got off the subject of place. Should I have been so surprised that these young children were so concerned with place, or with the lack of it, their displacement? Five children were foster children, disconnected from their homes. One little boy's house had burned down, everything gone. 'Photographs, too,' he said sadly. Another told me that he was moving the next day to place he'd never been. I turned and saw the librarian, tears coming down her face."

"'You know,' I said. 'Maybe I should take this bag of prairie dirt and toss it into my new yard. I'll never live on the prairie again. I live here now. The two places could mix together that way!' 'No!' cried a boy from the back. 'Maybe the prairie dirt will blow away!' And then a little girl raised her hand. 'I think you should put that prairie dirt in a glass bowl in your window so that when you write you can see it all the time. So you can always see what you knew first.'"

"When I left the library, I went home to write. What You Know First owes much to the children of the Jackson Street School: the ones who love place and will never leave it, the ones who lost everything and have to begin again. I hope for them life comes in circles, too."

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 42 customer reviews
It seems like a good jump for kids transitioning to chapter reading as well.
M. V. Skiver
This story is the sequel to "Sarah,Plain and Tall".The drought had wiped out every drop of water on the prairie.
Cheh Carmen
I got the book and read it to my class in 2 days - they loved it and wanted to read more about the family.
Barbara Hunt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
This short book (only 87 pages) is the perfect sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall. Sarah, once a mail-order bride from Maine, now is almost integrated into family life on the harsh prairie. But prolonged drought and other natural conditions deteriorate to the extent that she takes her instant children, Anna and Caleb, on a nostalgic (for her at least) trip back East, to share her roots with them.
This story is narrated in the first person by Anna, daughter of farmer Jacob. But how to blend love of the ocean with love for the prairie--two opposing causes for nostalgia and homesickness? Sarah needs to learn to stop being a lark who merely hovers above the land, She must let her husband's love for her help her to grow into the kind of person who can write her name on the land as well. A thoughtful read for more mature readers. Companion volumes to complete the mail-order marriage. Read as a pair!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cheh Carmen on December 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is one of my favourite books.Even the first chapter was interesting.Some parts really touch my heart.They make me feel that I am over there feeling their pain and sorrow.This story is the sequel to "Sarah,Plain and Tall".The drought had wiped out every drop of water on the prairie.Sarah had married Caleb's father,Jacob.Their neighbours were slowly leaving the prairie.Caleb didn't want to leave Sarah and the prairie.He wanted rain to fall.When I read this part,I was so worried that I wished that I could read it the whole day.When Caleb's papa said that they have their names written in the prairie,Caleb didn't want Sarah to leave so he really wrote "SARA" in the land.But in the end,they still had to leave the prairie and went to stay with Sarah's aunts in Maine for a while until it rained in the prairie.In Maine,it was totally different.There were the sea and flowers blooming.Do you think the children will ever see the prairie and their father again? Read this moving story and find out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Hi, I'm Paulina and I'm one of Patricia's biggest fans. I read the book, Skylark. It started out as a story about family and life in the frontier land. A week had passed and there had been no rain. It was very hot, opening windows was no use. The cow had her calf and then the barn burned down, meanwhile Sarah's aunts had sent her a letter inviting her to come to Maine, papa wouldn't go because he wanted to take care of the land, so he sent Sarah and the children. After a month without papa everyone was getting homesick and missing him very much, finally they saw papa rushing toward them yelling "it rained!" Papa had come to take them all home.

If you like stories about life in the country, this is the story for you. You can easily imagine the sights and landscape in this novel. I would recommend this book for kids between the ages of 8 and 10. I think this was a very good book. The problem in this story was that there wasn't any rain for a long time. This problem was very bad in the days before farmers could water thier crops with machinery. When the rains finally came, it saved the farm and the family. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more by Patricia MacLauchlan!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you are into books about droughts, fires, and other things like that, then this is the right book for YOU.This book is the sequel to "Sarah, Plain and Tall" when a young woman named Sarah traveled from Maine to the Prairie to marry a widowed man named Jacob and his two children, Anna and Caleb.In the book "Skylark" there is a drought and during the drought there was a huge fire that burned down their barn.So Jacob told Sarah to take Anna and Caleb to Maine while he rebuilds the barn.Will they ever be together again?To find out read the book "Skylark."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Bresnahan on June 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This well written sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall is a page-turner. Readers can't wait to find out what happens next to their beloved family on the plains. The dreaded drought causes much hardship; no water for the livestock, wells going dry, families leaving their farms, and the barn fire. Sarah and the children flee to Maine, her birthplace, to wait out the drought in safety. Luckily, the drought ends and Jacob goes to Maine to retrieve his family, including the newly pregnant Sarah! Patricia Maclachlan's writing is beautiful; full of imagery and feeling. It's easy to identify with these well-rounded characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ricci Lee on March 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was recommended this book by a friend but I think I bought the completely wrong book - I'm pretty sure this is a child's book and I read it in one evening
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Isaac on October 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
With the companion books Sarah, plain and tall skylark represents acceptance for love, tradition, value and companionship for other as well as yourself. As student read this book it will deal and discussion separation, love of ones illness, plant history, and cultural values of others and they deal with real life situations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 'Sarah Plain and Tall' series is among our family favorites. Skylark just gets a 4 out of 5 because while we'd like to give it a 4.5, that isn't permitted. The tender tale of Sarah, Jacob, Anna and Caleb continues. You can feel the arid conditions of the Kansas drought, the fear that grips the community as wells go dry, the loneliness and fear of families being separated so that at least some of them can travel to where water is not a constant need. A book that gives a picture to youngsters of Dust Bowl conditions; it will keep the attention of older readers as well. A happy ending completes part 2 of the Sarah stories (as we call them). [Our lack of a '5' star rating was largely because of a brief, unnecessary encounter with a skinny dipping old maiden aunt.]
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