SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL. By Patricia MacLachlan. Walker pound;3.50
Nothing plain about the dreamy, alluring prose of this slim novel, which won the Newbery Medal in the United States. Sarah is a 19th-century mail-order bride from Maine, who transforms the lives of Anna, Caleb and their father when she exchanges the ocean for the waves of prairie grass outside their remote homestead. Not a lot happens - a dead sheep, a storm, a trip to town - but Anna's observations as Sarah puts down her new roots are acute and touching.