(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Away Goes Sally is a calm, quiet work of historical fiction describing the life of one family in 1790. Coatsworth evokes both a nostalgic warmth and a feeling of anticipation about what will happen next. Her choice of words in the poems at the end of the chapters appeals to the senses: In one of the poems, the reader can almost feel the coziness as “the cat sleeps warm beneath the stove” in the middle of winter, and Dinah, Sally’s cat, “folded her paws before the fire and purred herself to sleep.” Coatsworth helps the young reader identify with the story through the character of Sally Smith. Sally performs chores, sews, and makes tea and serves it to the family, roles befitting a young girl of the late eighteenth century. She also notices and shows appreciation for what is around her.

The letter from Cousin Ephraim Hallet asking the family to come to Maine to live is the focal point of the book because it requires a decision to be made. Another message is delivered in the letter: As Ephraim writes of his wife, “Jennie says that she prefers being the head of the poor to being the tail of the rich.”

The most important theme in this book is the love and respect that the family members show one another. Aunt Nannie is adamant about not wanting to leave the farm in Massachusetts. She also believes that Sally should not go, despite the young girl’s enthusiasm for the idea. Uncle Joseph, who has been instrumental in...

(The entire section is 579 words.)