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In this sequel to SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL, Sarah marries Anna's and Caleb's father Jacob, and their prairie home is alive with joy. In fact, everything is bursting with life. Sarah's cat Seal meets a handsome orange neighbor, and she's expecting kittens. Caleb and Anna awaken one morning to learn that Mame, the cow, had a pretty little calf during the night. Caleb names her Moonbeam. The children love their new mother, and their father is very happy.

But fear, like a dark cloud blotting the horizon, edges slowly into the summer beauty of their lives. It doesn't rain. Not one drop. The days are so hot and dry that the leaves fall to dust on the ground. The corn stalks crackle in the fields. Barrels and ponds lose their water, and even the river turns into cracked ruts burning in the sun. When their wells go dry, neighbors have to pack up everything they own and leave.

Jacob says this has happened before. He survived it then, and they'll outlast it now. He says they will never leave the prairie; their names are written in the land.

But Sarah comes from Maine. Her three aunts write letters to the family, and they talk about how cool and green everything is in Maine, and about the rainstorms there that refresh the air. Anna and Caleb are afraid. What if it doesn't start raining? What if Sarah wants to go back home to Maine? They know that her name is not written in the prairie.

Sarah says she won't leave. But then the grass fires start, caused by lightning bursts in the hot, electric air. The barn burns down because there is no more water to fight it. And Jacob tells Sarah that she and the children must go to Maine. He will take care of the animals and the house. There isn't enough water in the well for all of them to live on the prairie anymore.  Will the family ever be reunited? Will they ever come back to the prairie?

Reviewed by Tamara Penny on March 30, 1994

by Patricia MacLachlan

  • Publication Date: March 30, 1994
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060233281
  • ISBN-13: 9780060233280