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Sarah, Plain and Tall


Submitted by: Karen Ehman



Chapter 1

1. Why did Caleb keep asking Anna about the details of his birth?

2. When her mother said "Isn't he beautiful?" why didn't Anna tell what she really thought of Caleb's appearance?

3. Why did she feel the way she did?

4. Why was singing so important to Caleb?

5. Had Papa really forgotten the old songs? If not why didn't he sing?

6. Why had Papa advertised for a wife instead of a housekeeper? Why had Caleb assumed his ad was for a mother?

7. Why would a woman answer such an ad?

8. What do we learn about Sarah from the response?

9. What can you infer about her from the way she writes.


Chapter 2

l. What kinds of questions did the children ask Sarah in their letters?

2. What else would you have asked?

3. Why did the children keep rereading their letters from Sarah?

4. Why did Pa ask the children if Sarah should come?


Chapter 3

l. Why didn't the children go with Pa to meet Sarah?

2. Why did Papa assume that Seal would stay in the barn? How did Sarah let him know where Seal would stay?

3. How did the children know Sarah was already lonely?

4. Why did Anna wish they had a sea of their own?

5. How did they welcome Sarah?


Chapter 4

1. Why were the dogs so quick to accept Sarah?

2. Why did Caleb ask Sarah so many questions?

3. Shells and flowers were important to Sarah. What is important to you?

4. Why did Anna think she looked like Sarah's daughter?

5. What kinds of things did Sarah do around the farm?


Chapter 5

l. Tell the story of the dune on the farm. How did it resemble a sand dune?

2. Why did Papa think of it?

3. What were Sarah's reactions?

4. Do you think they will ever do this again? Had the children ever played in a hay dune before?


Chapter 6

l. Why did Papa teach Sarah to plow? Did she teach him to do housework in return? Why not?

2. Why did Sarah want to know about winter?

3. What did the children tell her about winter?

4. How might a prairie winter be different from one by the sea?

5. Describe their experience at the pond.


Chapter 7

l. Describe the neighbors who had come to visit.

2. How did Anna know that the chickens wouldn't be eaten?

3. Maggie told Sarah "There are always things to miss. No matter where you are." What did she mean?

4. Why did Maggie insist that Sarah have a garden? How did Sarah respond?

5. Why did Sarah need to learn to drive a wagon?

6. When Maggie and Matthew left, why did Sarah follow them for a while?

7. How did Anna know for sure that the chickens wouldn't be eaten?

8. Why were the summer roses significant?

9. What makes a perfect neighbor?

10. Why were neighbors so important to people who lived on the prairie? Are neighbors as important in our lives? Why or why not?


Chapter 8

l. What did Sarah and Papa argue about?

2. What did Sarah know about fixing roofs?

3. Describe the storm. What kind of prairie storm was it? Have you ever been in a fierce storm?

4. What did they retreat to the barn?

5. What was it like in the barn during the storm?

6. Despite the fierce storm, what made Caleb smile?

7. When they left the barn, what reminded Anna of the sea?


Chapter 9

l. What damage did the storm cause?

2. How did Papa keep his promise to Sarah?

3. Why was Caleb so upset with the thought of Sarah leaving? Did Anna share his feelings?

4. Why was Papa surprised when Sarah kissed him before leaving for town?

5. Why do you think she insisted on going alone?

6. Why did Sarah's departure remind Anna of Mama?

7. What clues tell you Sarah hasn't left for good?

8. How did the family feel when Sarah left for town? How did each family member cope with her absence?

9. Why did Caleb explode in tears and feelings when Sarah returned?

10. What did Sarah bring from town? Why had she chosen these items?

11. How did the story end? Was it the perfect ending? Would have finished the story differently?

12. Which character in the story did you like best? Why?

13. Had you written the book what would you have changed?

14. Anything you would like to add about your feelings or thoughts about Sarah, Plain and Tall?