Tales From Silver Lands
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Tales From Silver Lands

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  555 ratings  ·  77 reviews
The book is a collection of nineteen folktales of the native populations of Central and South America, including a "just-so story" describing how rabbits and rats got their tails.
207 pages
Published (first published 1924)
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The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
91st out of 93 books — 2,051 voters
The Giver by Lois LowryA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleHoles by Louis SacharNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal Winner Books
90th out of 93 books — 242 voters


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Community Reviews

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Joe
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
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
Aimee Conner
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
Jill
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
Claudine
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
Vasha7
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.
Kim
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
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
Colby Sharp
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.
Traci
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
Boring folk tales from South America. Couldn't finish this one - not with so many other things I want to read.
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
Benji Martin
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
Ann Carpenter
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
Ensiform
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 th...more
Wayne S.
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 r...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 wit...more
Jen
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
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
Maria
Wish there were half stars. I don't know that I'd give it a 4, but it seems stronger than a 3. Ah well. Newbery 1925

Since this book is a collection of short story folktales (from South America), some are more interesting than others. I did have to look up "huanaco" (it's kind of like a llama).

There was a lot of beautiful language, many fun lessons to be learned, and some great connections to more commonly known folktales. This would be a great book to have on hand to pull tales that paired well...more
Carl Nelson
1925 Newbery Award recipient.

3.5 stars. Interesting collection of South and Central American folk tales. Heavily influenced by superstition and magic, the best tales are those where cleverness is used to defeat evil, such as the stories of the Four Hundred and Nasca and the cat. The tales are not quite as rollicking as American tall tales, and simple purity is accorded high value. I find it fascinating how myth and superstition was used to explain the surrounding world, especially in contrast wi...more
Debbie
I enjoyed the stories. It is just a collection of folk tales, most from South America. I think that some of them would be good read-aloud stories for a unit on folk tales from around the world. However, I don't think I would recommend this book to most children. The writing style is so different from most children's books today that I think they would find it hard to understand. Good readers could handle it, and because each chapter is just one story, they wouldn't have to read the whole thing.
Jessica
I was truly surprised by this book, expecting something outdated and offensive like the other Newbery winners of this era. Instead, I found a lovely collection of folktales from South America. There are some minor problems with it, some stories having a frame story which introduces a narrator's voice who is presumably a white traveller hearing the tales for the first time. But that narrator is rarely apparent. My greatest complain about the book is its TERRIBLE cover with a blond young man sitti...more
Anita
The 1925 Newbery Medal winner is the 4th book to be awarded this title. Folk tale fantasy stories seem to have changed somewhat since this book won its award, but it is still a fun read. The stories are pretty short and there is often a strong show of evil, with magic powers and such. Good is either stellar, or various shades of grey...so not that unlike stories today. I would say these would be fine for children, as long as your child does not scare too easily. The evil is always conquered, so...more
Crystal
1925 Newbery Award

These tales from the southern part of South America were interesting at times, but tedious sometimes too. One of the recurring themes was be careful what you wish for because you might get it. "The dream man...did his evil work by granting men their wishes. for you must know that no man knows the things that is best for him and his welfare, and many are apt to see some little things as desirable, the which in time work out for their own undoing." p. 185

I really enjoyed The Tale...more
Ron
Another Newbery Medal winner - this book is a collection of South American folk tales. Some are interesting, some not so interesting.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
This is an old Newbery, a book I approached with great trepidation. I soon found my trepidation unjustified, for this is a timeless book of old stories from Central and South America, none of which I’d ever read or heard before. All the themes of folk tales are here: the value of courage, the triumph of virtue, the dangers of power and wealth. Though the themes were often the same of other stories I’ve read, the stories felt fresh, peopled with small tribes living in the forest or “warm lands wh...more
Janis
This collection of fantastic tales from South America includes stories of cruel and strange under-sea people (who become seals), an explanation of how the hummingbird got its colors, and tales of witches, evil step-mothers, and of wishes gone awry not unlike European fairy tales. All of which were mildly interesting. I liked better the moments when the author, then a young adventurer making his way across South America, shared those moments when he first heard the tales. This 1925 Newbery winner...more
Peter
This book is apparently a collection of South American folktales which Mr Finger made while travelling there as a young man, and drastically retold for publication. About half of the retellings are pretty good, although there are random spots of whitewashing (such as when an ice queen has "flaxen" hair); the other half feature Mr Finger as a character, telling how he collected the stories and describing the people who told them to him, and all of those have a blatantly colonialist "look at the q...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
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