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Grandfather's Dance (Sarah, Plain and Tall Saga


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About the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the best-selling author of many beloved books for young readers, including SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include ARTHUR FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, THE FACTS AND FICTIONS OF MINNA PRATT, SKYLARK, CALEB’S STORY, MORE PERFECT THAN THE MOON, and GRANDFATHER’S DANCE. She is also the author of many timeless picture books, including THREE NAMES, WHO LOVES ME?, WHAT YOU KNOW FIRST, ALL THE PLACES TO LOVE, PAINTING THE WIND, BITTLE, and ONCE I ATE A PIE, several of which she co-wrote with her daughter, Emily. She lives with her husband and two border terriers in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.


Gr 3-6-This conclusion of the "Sarah, Plain and Tall" stories gathers the whole cast of characters for a prairie wedding. Changes in the family are reflected in the changing times; Papa goes to town to buy a car to transport his guests. Fourth-grade Cassie narrates the tale of welcoming the relatives and preparing the celebration for her sister, Anna. But her focus isn't on the bride and groom. Partly, she ponders why people would want to get married; her dream companion would be one of her dogs. She closely observes Grandfather and Jack, the oldest and youngest members of the family. Their special bond shows up in the way Jack talks, walks, and behaves like Grandfather. Cassie observes how Grandfather is preparing for death. Even the sad ending highlights the story's overall theme of family ties as they weave through generations. MacLachlan maneuvers the reminders of previous plots fairly gracefully, allowing the book to stand on its own. As before, her beautifully straightforward language reflects the manner of the hardworking people of the Great Plains. Although at a reading level for early chapter-book readers, this story's themes make it appropriate as well for upper elementary readers.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

MacLachlan's poignant fifth novel in the cycle that began with Sarah, Plain and Tall brings to a close the story of the mail-order bride from Maine. Now deeply ensconced in her prairie home, Sarah helps Anna to plan a wedding of her own, an occasion for bringing together many of the characters from the previous books. Caleb returns from school, and Sarah's brother, William, plus the aunts who gave Sarah (then pregnant with Cassie) safe harbor during the drought in Skylark, travel from Maine. Cassie, now in fourth grade, once again narrates. Her observations, both written and spoken, read like poetry. Though Cassie dreaded the new baby's arrival in More Perfect than the Moon, she confesses her love for her now-toddler brother, Jack ("His hand was tiny and warm in my hand"). But the real story here chronicles the relationship between Jack and "Boppa," the boy's special name for his grandfather (who returned to the family in Caleb's Story). MacLachlan uncannily captures the bond between the two, one at the beginning of life, one nearing the end. Ironically, the author's most stunning example of their connection comes when Grandfather loses his temper with Jack, and the man's wordless apology gives the novel its name. MacLachlan's concluding novel ultimately celebrates the dance of life. Grandfather's is one example, Anna's wedding to Justin another, with its echoes of Sarah's to Jacob-bringing readers full circle. Those who have followed Sarah from the start will feel that the characters live on long past the final page. Ages 8-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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