What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the main issue is Cassie's feelings about having a new baby in the house, and the way she and the others in the family deal with them. One of Cassie's concerns is Sarah's age, which may also prompt some family discussion.
What's the story?
In this fourth book in the series that began with Sarah, Plain and Tall, Anna is grown up, living in town, working for the doctor, and about to be married. Caleb is a young man with his first girlfriend. Cassie is eight years old. And Sarah is pregnant.
Cassie is not at all thrilled with this prospect, which she refers to as "that terrible baby." She worries that Sarah won't love her as much, and even that she might lose Sarah, as Caleb and Anna lost their mother in childbirth. But with patience, kindness, and wisdom the family helps her deal with her feelings.
Is it any good?
We have missed Patricia MacLachlan, who has only written one new novel in years. Reading this book reminds us of the qualities that have made her, ever since the publication of the first book in this series, Sarah, Plain and Tall, one of our most beloved authors: the heartstoppingly lyrical prose, the simple, gentle stories and kind characters, the lack of villains or trumped-up drama, the wisdom about the human heart.
While the theme of unhappiness about an upcoming sibling has certainly been done often before, and MacLachlan doesn't really have anything new to say about it, the simple beauty and sense of what she says carries the reader along on wings of language and image. In the age of Harry Potter, when louder, faster, and more exciting seems to be the goal of all of our children's media, this book is a little oasis of calm and beauty and sanity.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about Cassie's journal. How does the journal help Cassie deal with what's happening in her life? What does she mean when she calls her made-up stories her truth?