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The Song of Hiawatha
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The Song of Hiawatha

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,912 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
The infectious rhythm of The Song of Hiawatha has drawn millions to the shores of Gitchee Gumee. Once there, they've stayed to hear about the young brave with the magic moccasins, who talks with animals and uses his supernatural gifts to bring peace and enlightenment to his people. This 1855 masterpiece combines romance and idealism in an idyllic natural setting.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 24th 2006 by Dover Publications (first published 1855)
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Petra X smoke fish no cigar
To gain its full flavour, this is a poem to read aloud. I read it as a child, I read it to my son when I was pregnant with him, I read it to him when I fed him as a baby and for the last time I read it to him when he was old enough to enjoy it. He didn't. He hated it, so my favourite book was put on one side, but every now and again I like to read about the West Wind and Minehaha, Laughing Water.
Nov 24, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Kelly by: myself
I have loved the rhythm of this poem since I was a kid. I could read it over and over and over.
Apr 24, 2010 Cassie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have very mixed feelings about this poem. The actual legends and folklore on which the poem is based are fascinating, and an important part of many Native American cultures to preserve. But they don't work very well when not performed as a part of the storytelling tradition of Native American tribes, especially when the compiler uses them to set up a defense of the actiona of white colonists who forced the religions these stories grew out of to transition instead to Christianity. Bleh. And the ...more
25 JAN 2015 -- recommended by Bettie. Read this many, many years ago as a young girl in school. Together with If by Kipling, they were favorites. Thank you, Bettie, for the walk back in time.

You may read the epic poem online here --

Listen here (while available) --

Transported for two full nights into another world. Disappointed that I was not introduced to this at a younger age but also grateful that I've been able to discover it and enjoy it so thoroughly and fresh in my maturity. A poem in trochaic tetrameter that necessitates it being read aloud to fully experience its effect. Simply mesmerizing.
Feb 03, 2014 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, poetry
3 stars. For some reason, I didn't expect this poem to be as accurately grounded in Native American folklore/mythology and language as it was. I like Longfellow's style of poetry, which has a strong meter and rhythm. This epic poem contains Algonquin folklore which is in some places surprisingly similar to Bible stories (for example, Hiawatha's strong friend Kwa'sind whose only weak spot is in the crown of his head can't help but remind one of Sampson). Other sections are more historical, as in ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wanda
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
This epic narrative poem, with its picturesque and highly imaginative tales, threads the many aspects of native American mythology concerning life, nature and ritual. Weaving together "beautiful traditions into a whole" as Longfellow intended.
Debbie Zapata
Nov 20, 2016 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
I seem to have successfully avoided reading much of anything by Longfellow for nearly 58 years. But late last year I read Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie and decided I should see what else this famous American poet had to say.

When I picked The Song Of Hiawatha, I admit I was a little concerned that I would have visions of the Bugs Bunny cartoon running through my head the entire time I was reading. Bugs starts out reading the poem, young Hiawatha comes floating down the river on a rabbit hunt, and
Dave H
Feb 22, 2012 Dave H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I read this to my young kids at bed time. Not enough farts and boogers to earn their endorsement; despite best efforts to not enjoy it, they were almost interested from time to time. I quite like the rhythm and sound of Hiawatha -- if Captain Underpants were written in the same style, perhaps my kids and I would have a happy compromise.

My copy of the book is an old reader a neighbor gave to my mother when she was a kid. I remember, she read at least the famous passage to me when I was a kid and
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
Τόσα χρόνια (από όταν το είχα διαβάσει στα Κλασσικά Εικονογραφημένα) νόμιζα ότι ήταν ένα ινδιάνικο έπος. Τώρα συνειδητοποιώ ότι το έγραψε ένας λευκός; Μου χάλασε όλη την απόλαυση, όλη την επιστροφή στην παιδική ηλικία.
Feb 28, 2009 Willow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"On the shores of Gitchie Goomie, by the shining deep sea waters, stands the wigwam of Nicomus, daughter of the sea." -- is that right? Lyrical, magical; that's what I remember. It was long ago.
Varsha V.
A story I was forced to read for school, and not one I necessarily enjoyed either. I have to write a ten page essay on this poem, and that prospect curtailed my possible enjoyment of it. If you want to read an essay on the racism of this book, see me in one week. I can't rate this book, because my rating would be very prejudiced, for reasons said above. However the meter is nice, and I liked the overall story. I hope you have not been made to read this story, and that you read it of your own acc ...more
Sep 20, 2016 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eee wa yea my little owlet.

My son had to memorize two stanzas of this poem for an end-of-the-year project in the 4th grade. Having never heard the poem before, my husband and I now rank this poem as one of our favorite of all time. Beautiful english lanuage of the little boy enbracing the wilds of the woodlands.
Dec 27, 2015 Caroline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This would be a great book to read out loud to a child. While reading, I kept wishing that it had been added to my dad's nightly bedtime reading repertoire when I was young, which primarily consisted of The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle and The Hobbit.

The meter on this poetry (called trochaic tetrameter) is immediately recognizable. The DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da rhythm totally got into my head; I was thinking in trochaic tetrameter for days after finishing the book.

According to Longfellow, these
Susan Mortimer
Oct 27, 2009 Susan Mortimer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 5-105
Shelves: lis-565
Susan Jeffers’ illustrated edition of her abridgement of Longfellow’s epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha, is simply astounding. Jeffers notes in her introduction that this is a poem from which her mother read to her as a child: a poem whose “lovely imagery began to enter [her:] daydreams.” She says further that upon re-reading it as an adult, she “knew [she:] wanted to illustrate the section that [she’d:] loved as a girl.” The part of the poem Jeffers chose to abridge concerns the boyhood of Hiawat ...more
The other John
This is weird: a modern retelling of ancient tales that is pretty old itself. It wasn't old in 1855, of course, when Mr. Longfellow published his version of Native American folk-tales. It's the epic poem of Hiawatha, the wise and powerful demigod who guides and protects his people and has many an adventure. According to the introduction, Longfellow has been accused of "cleaning up" the original tales to make them more palatable to a Victorian audience. That may be so (I can't tell you from perso ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Tristan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, classic
Overall, this was a very good epic poem that chronicles Native American legends. It has a pressing, easy rhythm that pulls readers along through the poem, although a couple of times, the meter forces a change in the way words are said. The biggest one for me was that "squirrel" was regularly in a position where it had to be read a a two syllable word "squirr-el", which was a bit odd, but overall, the meter was pretty effortless. I especially loved the section entitled "The Ghosts". As an added b ...more
Aug 18, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beauty, legend, love, heroism. Wouldn't change a word of it. The only thing of which I'm certain in the exasperated canon of child-rearing: read this book aloud to your kids, and they will be better for it.
Jan 28, 2016 Arlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure it wasn't this edition, but I remember that this was one of the first things that I read in first grade!
Bcoghill Coghill
I don't know if I love this book because my mother read it to me as a child or for it's own merit. Anyway you look at it, it is a favorite.
Noran Miss Pumkin
bookstore find 8/08. reread for the first time since childhood. Beautiful illustrations!
Nov 02, 2016 Kenneth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was familiar with this story from an old vinyl album that my Mom used to play for me when I was a little boy. Hal Halbrook read the excerpt that was really only chapter three “Hiawatha’s Childhood”. The book is 226 pages long. It makes for some very relaxing reading with a very nice rhythm and incorporates many Native American terms that really bring the story to life. As you read it, you have to wonder how much of the story is real, and how much is simply folklore. How accurate is this poem? ...more
Tom Lee
Nov 02, 2016 Tom Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was initially drawn to this poem after coming across some rather amusing parodies, so I was surprised that I enjoyed its mythical Native American tales so much. There is something grandiose about the poetic meter that makes me want to stand in the middle of a prairie somewhere and declaim it at passersby, be they humans or masticating cows.
Jan 10, 2017 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t usually enjoy poetry, but I found The Song of Hiawatha to be fun to read and kept my attention. The rhythm sounded just like drums beating – dun-dun-dun-DUN-dun-dun-dun-DUN. Sometimes Longfellow used words that emphasized or made the beat stronger. The story itself was excellent. It’s something everyone should read once.
Feb 28, 2015 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried not to be swayed by reading any lit crit about it before diving in. I prefer coming at these things "unspoiled" as it were.

But it's kind of hard to be unspoiled about The Song of Hiawatha. I suspect we all got some exposure to it in school. The most commonly-anthologized section is just part of "Hiawatha's Childhood," which everyone knows:

By the shores of Gitchee-Gumee
By the shining big sea water
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis
Daughter of the moon Nokomis

and so forth. Actually, I'm not even g
Brenda Selner
In first and second grade, I checked out this book from our school library until they made me stop. My dad would read it aloud to me, and tell me to listen carefully for the drums. What sweet memories!
Nov 18, 2016 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this!
Beautifully written epic poem based on Ojibwe Indian oral traditions and legends. Has such a hypnotic rhythm to it, you can almost hear the drum beat! So cool.
Madison Henson
This story seem good, it actually true stories about Hiawatha?
Dec 14, 2016 Chad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
A great story! Every bit as important as the Iliad, Odysseus, Aeniad, Beowulf or Evil' s Saga.
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Dandelion allegory 4 5 Aug 08, 2014 07:36PM  
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and "Evangeline". He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five members of the group known as the Fireside Poets.

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a prof
More about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow...

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Then my heart is sad and darkened,
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That the cold wind makes in rivers.”
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