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By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House, #5)
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By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House #5)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  44,988 ratings  ·  601 reviews
Meet Laura Ingalls, the little girl who would grow up to write the Little House books. Pa Ingalls heads west to the unsettled wilderness of the Dakota Territory. When Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and baby Grace join him, they become the first settlers in the town of De Smet. And Pa begins work on the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the shores of Silver ...more
Audio CD, Unabridged
Published October 5th 2004 by HarperFestival (first published 1939)
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Summer
One of the things I love about this series is how the prose grows with the protagonist. Four-year-old Laura lives in a world with short sentences and simple feelings, and thirteen-year-old Laura, who has had to broaden her vocabulary to help describe things to her blind sister, inhabits a text that is intricately described and which gives a broader overview of events and situations.
Diane
This was a charming book to read on Christmas Day. Last summer I started rereading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and this fifth one was a delight.

"By the Shores of Silver Lake" covers the family's move to the Dakota territory at about 1879, when Pa gets a job working for the railroad. Laura loves being out on the open prairie, and she's fascinated when she gets a chance to watch the men preparing the ground for railroad tracks. Pa explains the process for how railroads are built, and how effi
...more
Philip
Alright... By the Shores of Silver Lake... You ready, Eleanor?

E: Mm-hmm.

Dad: Ok. Go for it.

E: Um. Well. My favorite paaaarrrrt waaaassssss.... hmmmmmmm... hmmm. hmmm. hmmm. Chapter 8? I thiiiink. I think, daddy. I think... uh... My favorite part was when they went out in the shanty, and when they got- do you want me to tell you the surprising part that I liked, or the regular part that I liked?

D: Start with the regular part.

E: My favorite parts were the ones with the littlest sister, Grace!

(Gra
...more
Kressel Housman
It was toward the beginning of this novel that I abandoned the Little House books at age eleven, and to a large degree, I blame the television series. The book opens with the news of Mary’s blindness, which was shown with typical pioneer stoicism: “She was able to sit up now, wrapped in quilts in Ma’s old hickory rocking chair. All that long time, week after week, when she could still see a little, but less every day, she had never cried. Now she could not even see the brightest light anymore. S ...more
Treasure
This one begins so sadly, with two years since Plum Creek has ended, the famil sick with Scarlet Fever, and Mary now blind. I've always wished Laura had written about those years, as Baby Grace appears during that time, and apparently a baby brother was also born and died during that time. Clearly, it was a sad and diffucult time, but I find their fortitude inspiring and I wish there was more about that time.
Laura us much more grown up in this one-- I feel there is a separation between Plum Cre
...more
Michelle
Man, oh man, again I start out feeling disappointed by Pa and Ma's life choices. Since we last left the Ingalls family, they have come down with scarlet fever and Mary is now blind. To be fair, they could have gotten sick any ol' place, but Pa, Plum Creek was clearly a bad decision for your family. Locusts, blizzards, BLINDNESS. The scary thing is, Laura's now 13, which means it's been a couple years since the last book left off. What the heck other crazy things happened that Laura doesn't want ...more
Torie
Oct 26, 2007 Torie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girls who would rather watch the railroad being built than sit inside sewing
What blows me away every time about all Laura Ingalls Wilder books is how she can put me right in the place of someone seeing the world change in extraordinary ways that have nothing to do with the 21st century. I am right there with Laura's fascination with the railroad and trains and crossing the continent to "settle" in the West where no one but buffalo and savages and their little papooses have lived before. The books are instructive in how the popular perception of Manifest Destiny was was ...more
Kathryn
Perhaps my least favorite of the four I've read so far, but I still can't give it anything less than five stars. Most of the second half is wonderful! I guess, like Laura, I just didn't love the town and busy-busy aspects of their lives in this one but it was still well written.
Emily
Laura sure is growing up, as are the other girls.

Again, I polled the boys for their favorite parts. It's always interesting to see what sticks in their heads. Both of them liked the brief moment toward the end when Laura sees Almanzo for the first time, driving his team down the center street of the fledgling town of De Smet. They'd been waiting to see when their paths would cross and were gratified to know it finally happened. And they were sad that Mary had lost her sight.

Josh loved the part w
...more
Melody
I am not finding the love. I read these books over and over as a kid. I see their value as historical documents. I'm this far in the series and I'm going to stick it out, but when I finish, I suspect the hardcover set that has taken up a fair bit of shelf space in my library is going to be out on its ear.

Pa's a bit less annoying in this book, but Ma steps up the to the plate with her endless shushing and what is up with all of a sudden they are having church services all over the place? Laura's
...more
Kristina
Finished reading this tonight with my 5-year-old. She begged me to read her the last two chapters, even though it was a wee past bedtime. I obliged. Can't dampen this budding reader's enthusiasm, can I? Bedtime be damned.

She keeps telling me she wished she could meet Laura. Reminds me of Holden Caufield in "Catcher in the Rye." She also wants to take train ride to see the vast prairie. Funny little girl.
Thomas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lora
Another great one in the series. The writing has matured. I absolutely felt the restlessness and wanderlust of Pa and Laura. I hadn't felt that in years. I could also see the difference in Ma and Mary- they wanted to stay put; they wanted roots.
I wasn't sure I enjoyed Farmer Boy, but to be honest, it serves as a fantastic contrast to the lives of the Ingalls. And I felt a little thrill in By the Shores when I saw Almanzo's name first mentioned. The whiff of destiny, perhaps? That was fun.
With ea
...more
Kirei
Two things that I noticed most:

Mary is stricken blind before this book starts, and this is the first book in which she is blind. She is almost absent from this book. (She is there, just sitting in her rocking chair.) Laura has lost her buddy, her bossy older sister. Laura hangs out with Carrie more in this book, but it just isn't the same.

When Laura first sees her future husband, Almanzo, she only notices his horses and wants those, not him! Such is the mind of a twelve year old girl.
sabisteb
De Smet, South Dakota 1879. Zwei Jahre sind vergangen seit den Ereignissen von “On the Banks of Plum Creek” und es gab Familienzuwachs: Grace ist nun das Nesthäkchen der Familie, die Mitglieder sich gerade erst mühsam von einer Scharlachinfektion erholen, die Mary, Lauras ältere Schwester, das Augenlicht raubte. Da bekommt die Familie Ingalls unerwarteten Besuch. Tante Docia arbeitet mit ihrem Mann Henry für die Eisenbahn und sie macht Charles Ingalls ein Angebot, dem er nicht widerstehen kann. ...more
Charity
The Ingalls kids are getting older and are taking on more responsibility as the hardships get more difficult. Laura's becoming a young woman and her reflections and perception is changing to match that transition.

There was one part that really struck a chord with me. It's when the Ingalls are moving from the surveyors' house to the unfinished store building in town at the end of the winter. Laura reflects that she was "alone and happy" on the prairie throughout the winter, but now in town with s
...more
Amalie
I don't know what happened but there is a somewhat large gap between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake. We only learn that there had been some life-altering events in Ingalls' lives but never really take part in them. Grace appears without an introduction and scarlet fever has left Mary blind. Then Laura is much more grown up in this one (she is thirteen years old.) and to make it all worse, Jack dies.

Pa gets a job offer to works for the railroad and on the eve of Pa g
...more
Frank Stein

The only problem is that now I want to read all nine books.

I think I found this book so sweet and touching because Wilder doesn't try to gussy up any of the scenes or dramatize the emotions. Most of it is written in a strict, almost journalistic, tone, and everything from angry mobs to the death of their dog is told matter-of-factly. It heightens rather than dampens the emotions, and makes you respect the narrator even more. Although obviously written as an adult, the young Laura comes across as
...more
Melanie
Read aloud with the girls. We all enjoyed it. It's interesting to read the series in order and notice how Laura's remembrances change based on her age. For instance, in this book she talked a lot more about how they cooked, presumably because she was doing more of the cooking.
Becky
As a child, By The Shores of Silver Lake wasn't my favorite of the series. I blame Jack's death for that. But as an adult, I've come to appreciate By The Shores of Silver Lake more, seeing it more than just a transition between On the Banks of Plum Creek and The Long Winter.

In By the Shores of Silver Lake:
Mary goes blind, Laura is "asked" to be her eyes
Pa is offered a new job, a job with the railroad, which he takes
He goes by wagon, Jack dies BEFORE Pa's departure
The rest of the family travel
...more
Kara Smith
This was my favorite series as a kid! The story opens with their departure from Plum Creek and their beloved dog Jack dying. Furthermore, Laura’s older sister is blind. Pa asks Laura to be Mary’s eyes now and she takes pride in this new responsibility. They receive a visit from Aunt Docia and she suggested that they move to the railroad camp for work. Pa is going to work in the railroad camp. Pa goes ahead by wagon with the team and the rest of the family travel by train, a great novelty. Laura ...more
Elizabeth
The second half of By The Shores of Silver Lake is much better than the first half. The first half is simply blah, and Lena is annoying and a bad influence. However, once they reach the surveyor’s house, the book is much better in my opinion (in fact, once the Ingalls reach De Smet the whole series really picks up) as Pa worries about his claim, the town of De Smet starts to grow, the Boasts are introduced, and the Ingalls must deal with numerous boarders. We get a first glimpse of Almanzo Wilde ...more
Sarah
There's a theme again! Pa really needs to get the claim put in and get the family settled before everyone else arrives.

I love how Laura feels so crowded in town. It makes sense given how isolated her life has been. But a street with a dozen buildings is...something I would still drive past without noticing I'd been anywhere unless I was looking for it.

I knew Mary went blind at some point in the series. (And had stumbled across the story of researchers questioning what caused the blindness.) I ha
...more
Divya Rao
This is where the books start getting a lot more detailed, and I always thought that was because Laura was getting older. She is getting older--and she mentions this at the beginning of the book, that she was taking responsibility because no one else could, and she knew that made her a grown up--but at the beginning of this book, Laura was only twelve years old. But at the same time--she was alone with her mother, with her older sister barely recovered from scarlet fever and blind, her younger s ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
One of the things I've always loved about Laura's books is that she wrote the way kids think,at each stage in their lives. I related strongly to Little Laura in the Big Woods, the way she thought and felt about living as a child in an adult's world, where kids were expected to take responsibility fast. Do your chores, be seen and not heard, obey, work hard, be polite and get good grades if ever we live in a place with a school.

This installment shows Laura a bit older, but still a child in most w
...more
Mia Parviainen
As I'm re-reading this series, so many years after the first time I read these books, I'm amazed at how much energy and a sense of danger is in this book. Even more surprising is how much this book was edited, based on this letter from Rose Wilder Lane to Laura Ingalls Wilder, about the manuscript of this particular book.

Part of me wishes that Wilder didn't gloss over the years between this book and On the Banks of Plum Creek, since so much seemed to have happened--all of a sudden there's a fo
...more
Erin R
This novel uniquely portrays the author as a young girl growing up as a pioneer in Midwestern states. It tells about true events in a dramatized way, creating interest for the reader by giving many details about the events of the author’s life. In this particular book (as part of a series), Laura moves further west with her family to North Dakota and weathers a long, cold, and enjoyable winter there, savoring the last lonely months of solitude with nature before hoards of settlers move in and be ...more
03MckenzieO
By the shores of silver lake
Laura Ingalls Wilder
This book is really intended for anyone. It has a lot of good information and a lot of cool facts about the pioneer time period. The main issue in this book is that technology is starting to get big. More people are settling in premade homes, railroads, people are now wanting to settle in other places.
Setting
The setting of this story is in the pioneer time period. It takes place at Plum Creek, Silver Lake, Dakotas and the Great plains. These settin
...more
Rai
This book really started me thinking about the ages of the kids. We meet back up with the Ingalls clan allegedly 5 years after we last saw them in Plum Creek. And again, Pa Ingalls wants to move west. And west and west. He goes with the railway to South Dakota, and things just fall into their lap. Which is nice sometimes, considering the bit of sadness that we missed.

I never before connected with the location of the last railway camp, the surveyors house, and their homestead by De Smet. Looking
...more
Lauren Brennan
This was the first of the Little House books so far that I just couldn't wait to finish reading. The first thing that I disliked was the fact that 4 or more years went by between the last book, On the Banks of Plum Creek, and this one. In that time two babies were born, one of the babies died, everyone but Pa and Laura had scarlet fever, and Mary went blind. No where in this book was it EVER mentioned that Laura had had a baby brother and he died. Then Jack dies. I loved Jack. He was...a good do ...more
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cause of Mary's blindness 25 127 Feb 07, 2015 07:07PM  
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Ingalls wrote a series of historical fiction books for children based on her childhood growing up in a pioneer family. She also wrote a regular newspaper column and kept a diary as an adult moving from South Dakota to Missouri, the latter of which has been published as a book.
More about Laura Ingalls Wilder...

Other Books in the Series

Little House (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
  • Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2)
  • Farmer Boy (Little House, #3)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek  (Little House, #4)
  • The Long Winter (Little House, #6)
  • Little Town on the Prairie  (Little House, #7)
  • These Happy Golden Years (Little House, #8)
  • The First Four Years  (Little House, #9)
  • On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894  (Little House #10)
  • West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915  (Little House #11)
Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2) Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1) The Little House Collection (Little House, #1-9) On the Banks of Plum Creek  (Little House, #4) Little Town on the Prairie  (Little House, #7)

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“We'd never get anything fixed to suit us if we waited for things to suit us before we started.” 58 likes
“Roma tidaklah dibangun dalam waktu sehari. Begitu juga sebuah jalan kereta api. Atau hal-hal lain yang menyenangkan dalam hidup ini. - Charles Ingalls” 7 likes
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