Book Review: Sarah Whitcher’s Story

Rating: ★★★★☆

Little Sarah Whitcher, left in the charge of her older siblings while her parents leave their New Hampshire cabin for the day, wanders away and is lost in the woods.  By the time her disappearance is discovered, it is dark, but in the morning the community rallies around the family to search for the lost child.  They search until sunset, but are disappointed to find no Sarah.  The search continues for another day, and another, though everyone but Sarah’s parents has lost hope of her survival.  Meanwhile, Sarah has found the company of a large animal whom she takes to be Ollie, the family dog.  “Ollie” takes care of her, though he smells and acts strangely.  On the third day after her disappearance, a man appears at the cabin, claiming to have had a dream showing where Sarah is.  He leads the searchers to where she is found — smelling of bear.

Throughout the story this hardworking pioneer family holds together in their trust that God will take care of Sarah.  The father, especially, sets an example of faith in the most discouraging of circumstances.  The deep love the parents express toward their children, and the joy with which Sarah is welcomed home, strike a sharp contrast between her vulnerable solitude and the secure place she holds within her family.  The book ends with an author’s note explaining that this story has some historical support, and descendants of Sarah Whitcher have repeatedly affirmed that she has told the story the way they heard it from their relatives.

Although the tale ends happily, it is a “scarer,” and may not be suited to more sensitive listeners.  But for those who are able to handle Sarah’s real danger, it provides a wonderful, suspenseful adventure, gives a glimpse of early New Hampshire life, and portrays a tight-knit, loving family.

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Publication Information: Yates, Elizabeth. Sarah Whitcher's Story. Unwin, Nora S. (Illustrator). Bob Jones University Press. 1994. ISBN: 0890847541.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08
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Posted on April 13, 2010

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