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Tales From Silver Lands

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  1,058 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Tales from Silver Lands is a collection of nineteen folktales, which Finger collected during his travels in South America. In them an assortment of animals, magical creatures, witches, giants, and children struggle for a life in which good overcomes evil. These fast-moving and adventuresome fantasies provide insight into the values and culture of native South American ...more
207 pages
Published (first published 1924)
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Joe
Mar 29, 2014 Joe rated it did not like it
In the canon of Newbery winners, there isn't a lack of stinkers. Apparently, the librarians of yore who populated the Newbery committees were tasked with rooting out the most boring book to thrust upon their unsuspecting patrons. Though many may argue that the committees are still selecting snooze-worthy tomes, few will ever surpass Charles J. Finger’s colossally dull Tales from Silver Lands. His collection of nineteen Latin & South American folktales clocks in at a little over 200 pages, ye ...more
Ashley
Dec 01, 2010 Ashley rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

Tales from Silver Lands by Charles J. Finger won the John Newbery Award in 1925. I didn't know anything about the book when I picked it up other than it's Newbery, but I must say, I was quite pleasantly surprised by what I found.

I have always loved Fairy Tales. Like, a lot. If you remember, a few weeks ago I talked about my first experience reading Grimm's Fairy Tales, which helped cement my love for reading them as well. (If y
...more
Claudine
Jun 14, 2010 Claudine rated it did not like it
Actually, I'm not sure I can put this on my read shelf....since it went onto the very short list (only the 2nd book) of books that I absolutely couldn't finish!!! I tried to skim through it, but it just was painful. Each chapter is a little story/folktale from other countries (like how did the hummingbird get it's color, etc). It started off ok, but it just got boring after a while. It felt like each chapter was so similar. I just couldnt' do any more. Maybe you could get through it if you read ...more
Colby Sharp
Jan 21, 2012 Colby Sharp rated it did not like it
Felt like I was falling down a mountain. I liked each short story less and less as the book went on. I tried to read them faster and faster.
Jill
Aug 15, 2011 Jill rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery-medal
This was another Newbery winner that I found difficult to get my hands on. It's not great, but it's not terrible. No, strike that. After writing out the quotations I marked I realized there are more than a handful of useful observations of the human experience to file away. The stories are a little odd (remember, this coming from a North American), but I thought they were much more engaging than the "Shen of the Sea" stories.

"...evil, though it may touch the good, cannot for ever bind it..."

"if
...more
Aimee
Mar 14, 2012 Aimee rated it really liked it
This book has 19 folk and fairy tales from Finger’s travels in South America. I am a total sucker for fairy tales so about this book: I loved it. It took longer to read for a variety of reasons, all of them having to do with my life, not the book. It was a real pleasure to read these stories.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, Charles J. Finger traveled quite a bit as a young man: “Between 1890 and 1895, he traveled around South America, herding sheep and cattle, pan
...more
Wayne S.
Jul 22, 2013 Wayne S. rated it liked it
This 1925 Newbery Award winner is a collection of nineteen folk tales which the author, Charles J. Finger, collected while journeying through Central and South America. These tales come from such diverse places as Honduras, the Orinoco region of Venezuela, Guiana, Cape Horn, Brazil, the Andes, the southern Patagonia area of Argentina, Chile, the pampas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, and Bolivia. Some people will like them while others will not. They are fantastic and even bizarre stories that ...more
Kristen
Jan 03, 2016 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-winners
Newbery Medal Winner--1925

A collection of tales gathered by the author during trips through South America, Tales From Silver Lands is an interesting mix of stories. Many remind me of the North American Natives' explanation stories--they include things like why the flamingo is pink and red, how seals and monkeys came into existence, etc. I really think most of the stories would be much more interesting read aloud--I havea feeling they lose some of the magic without the traditional story-telling a
...more
Magda
Mixed opinion: I liked how different some of the tales were from the tales I had grown up with, but at the same time they were sometimes a little too strange (or perhaps I just read too many of them at one sitting).

I am reading the New Testament as well as the Ante-Nicene Fathers at the same time, so perhaps part of my trouble liking some of these was the elements of trickery rather than compassion (or at least all the compassionate parts seemed to lead to trouble), but those elements of tricker
...more
Sue
I read these stories one at at time here and there and I found them to be of mixed quality. Some were lovely and interesting and others were gruesome and didn't seem to have much of a point or moral. I did find the South American setting of the stories interesting as that flavored the stories and made them quite different. For modern audiences, I can see this as a nice read-aloud to children although parents would need to do some explaining about some of the stories.
Vasha7
May 28, 2011 Vasha7 rated it liked it
A very pleasant book of retellings of folktales from all over South America, first published in 1925. The elevated style hasn't aged much. However, comparison with other versions shows that Finger sometimes changed the stories a lot according to his idea of what was suitable for children, or other reasons of his own.
Traci
Mar 11, 2011 Traci rated it did not like it
My motto to complete this Newbery odyssey: "I think I can, I think I can..."

I have never been so ready to read books published in the 1950s!
Crystal
Oct 27, 2011 Crystal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring folk tales from South America. Couldn't finish this one - not with so many other things I want to read.
Adrian Hebard
Sep 24, 2016 Adrian Hebard rated it it was amazing
Charlie Finger traveled throughout South America and wrote down the stories he heard from South American Native Americans. From time to time in his tales, he will tell about the companions who told him a story and when it was told. "Huanacos" frequently appear in his story; the modern day word is guanaco, a llama-like animal. Patagonia is a sparsely populated region that is shared by Argentina and Chile; he often refers to tales from Patagonia. Between 1883 and 1906, Patagonia experienced a gold ...more
Jen
Mar 17, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery, kids, 2008
If nothing else, I now know that huanacas (llamas, I think) are good, owls are (usually) bad, and wishes will always turn around and bite you in the butt, so it's better to do without them.

Call me strange, but I've always been a fan of short stories. The well-written ones. They're concise, well-crafted, and somewhat mysterious -- having no end and no beginning -- existing as a snapshot of a particular place and time. Charles Finger's short stories actually read more like folktales. They're a gli
...more
Vanessa Westen
Sep 18, 2016 Vanessa Westen added it
Shelves: poetry
Old time poems for older kids.
Ann
Jul 15, 2013 Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery, fantasy
An okay collection of short stories. I wish there was some sort of author's note so that we knew how many of the framing stories ("I was panning for gold when....") were true. From a cultural context, I wonder whether it was appropriate for a white guy who heard the story once, and likely out of its cultural context, to substantially retell the tale. Alternatively, he was just making stuff up and pretending that it was a native story. The world was different in the 1920's, I have to keep telling ...more
Benji Martin
Apr 25, 2014 Benji Martin rated it liked it
It's been a while since quit the Newbery journey, but here I am picking it up again. I'll just go ahead and say that I didn't love this book by any means, but I do find myself wanting to defend it. I've read some harsh reviews from other Newbery travelers, and I honestly didn't think it was THAT bad. Every place has its own set of folk and fairy tales, and honestly, I don't think I had ever heard any from Central and South America. I think I'm better off now that I have. I know I'm probably not ...more
Gretyl
Apr 20, 2016 Gretyl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unowned
I generally like collections of folk tales, but Finger's collection of 19 South American folk tales seems to drag. The wood cuts by Paul Honore in the original 1924 publication by Doubleday Page & Company are quite interesting and beautiful, but may be seen as simplistic, and possibly offensive today. Some of the tales have a narrator, but it is hard to know if it is meant to be the same narrator throughout, as nothing about the stories creates a cohesive whole. Although presumably meant to ...more
Gale
Mar 06, 2015 Gale rated it liked it
Shelves: anthology
“Patchwork of South American Folklore”

This 1924 Newbery winner probably held greater interest for the children of that decade than it would today. These 19 tales from various parts of South America feature elements of Magic: witches and wizards, with a few interesting magical objects thrown in. Giants are also popular as antagonists, as well as creatures who delight in evil for its own sake, who thrill to torment human folk. A few tales offer the genesis of how certain animals (and even the la
...more
Angie Lisle
Apr 08, 2016 Angie Lisle rated it it was ok
I read this 1925 Newbery Award winner as part of my mission to read all the Newbery Award and Honor Books. This book doesn't push racism or colonialism like some of its predecessors. Tales from Silver Lands is simply a collection of morality tales and, like all morality tales, the intent is to teach morals that transcend continental borders.

I'm not well-read on South American folklore and I love folklore so this book should have intrigued me. The title of one story implies the writing style: A
...more
Ensiform
Apr 24, 2012 Ensiform rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, newbery, stories
A collection of stories from South America, this book won the 1925 Newbery. There are explanatory stories (“A Tale of Three Tails,” which explains how the rat and deer and rabbit got their tails), fairy tales of recognizable structure and climax (“The Hungry Old Witch,” “The Wonderful Mirror”), trickster tales (“El Enano,” about a fox who tricks the titular greedy monster into leaving a village) and hero tales (“The Hero Twins” and “The Four Hundred,” which tell of how some heroic lads killed ...more
Kevin
Jan 11, 2016 Kevin rated it really liked it
Tales From Silver Lands is an interesting collection of tales gathered by Charles J. Finger from his travels in South America. The book tells in vivid detail various myths, legends, and folklore from the Americas. This book is an excellent read for those who appreciate creative fiction, from sorrowful stories to exciting and happy ones. It is truly a potpourri of themes, since each chapter teaches a different lesson, making it comparable to Aesop's Fables. Another thing to note about this book ...more
Debbie
Dec 31, 2013 Debbie added it
89 1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (Doubleday)

Oct. 6, 2013 207 pages

This is a collection of tales from South America. Many speak of giants who are killed in grisley ways. One exploded. One had his teeth taken out and died of starvation. One tells of a mother who wishes for a handsome athletic son and a beautiful daughter and is given a handsome athletic son who is blind and a beautiful daughter who is lame as a demonstration that we shouldn't wish because we never know what to wi
...more
Erin
Although I very much appreciate that the author wrote down these stories that might otherwise be lost to history, I didn't enjoy any one of them particularly much. I wish there had been more context for why Charles J. Finger was in South America traveling around and collecting stories of the people there. A simple preface for his journey and an explanation for his interest in these people, their culture, and their stories would have helped so much. As it stands, it is a collection of stories ...more
Kim
Jan 28, 2014 Kim rated it liked it
A collection of 19 Central and South American folk tales collected by the author. For a book published in 1924, it is remarkably free of cultural condescension, as Finger seems to have a genuine respect and admiration for the people he talked to. The themes are common to folk tales from other lands - the triumph of good over evil, the virtue of hard work, the weak vs. the mighty, etc - but these stories have enough of a bizarre twist to them to keep them interesting.

As a children's book, while i
...more
Jennifer
I enjoyed the tales that Finger collected, but I would have been more comfortable with more formal source notes as a supplement to Finger's occasional brief explanations that would open a tale explaining how he came across it. I know this was published before source notes were a standard practice, but it really does muddy the waters as to what parts really happened to the author and what he created for the purpose of the tale. I also thought the tales could have been better organized within the ...more
Juli Anna
Feb 08, 2016 Juli Anna rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book. A far as fairy/folktales go, these are top-notch for adventure and imagination (a cat who manifests a mischievous fox-faced man when it dreams! a witch who punishes a little girl by causing her hair to grow into a stone! hairy men who live under the sea and eat people!). However, many of these stories are introduced by the author (a white British dude), who ostensibly collected them from locals on his travels through South America and "edited" the tales to ...more
Tyler
Jan 09, 2016 Tyler rated it it was ok
Synopsis: This book is a collection of 19 tales that the author collected and compiled from Central and South America. Many of the fairy tales are similar to fairy tales that we're familiar with, while others are more unique.

My Review: I was a little nervous for this book, but it exceeded my expectations (or rather, my judging the book by it's cover). First off, I couldn't find the book at any of the libraries close to my house, so I requested it through an interlibrary loan and it ended up comi
...more
Dustin
I read this as part of a project to read all of the Newbery Award winners, and this is the first one I'd have no real issues handing to a kid to read.
It's a collection of folk tales from Central and South America. There are a couple of "origin of" tales, like the story of how some animals came to have the tails that they have, but most are of the fable variety. I didn't notice any serious vocab, so they should all be an easy read for most kids. Only two of the stories are connected to each other
...more
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Children's Books: Winner & Honors from 1925 5 71 Nov 21, 2013 08:27PM  
  • Shen of the Sea: Chinese Stories for Children
  • Dobry
  • Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon
  • Daniel Boone
  • Waterless Mountain
  • The Dark Frigate
  • The Story of Mankind
  • The White Stag
  • Miss Hickory
  • ...And Now Miguel
  • Roller Skates
  • A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • Smoky the Cow Horse
  • Secret of the Andes
  • Shadow Of A Bull
  • Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women
  • The Matchlock Gun

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