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

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  48,872 ratings  ·  652 reviews
Laura and her family are head to the Dakota Territory for a chance to own their own land--and stop moving. The new town of De Smet is filling up with settlers lured west by the promise of free land, and the Ingalls family must do whatever it takes too defend their claim.
Paperback, 357 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by HarperTrophy (first published 1939)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
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
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!

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
This was always my least favorite of the Little House books, so I tried to read it with a more interested and knowing eye this time, and liked it better. So impressed with how LIW is aware of both the story arc for the individual book, and for the series as a whole by this time. She introduces Almanzo here, and brings back many characters - some of them fictional - from previous books (Aunt Docia, Mr. Edwards, Reverend Alden) - doing a really good job of making this book a link from all her prev ...more
This one begins so sadly, with two years since Plum Creek has ended, the family 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 difficult 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 Cr
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
Oct 26, 2007 Torie rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Read to Meg (11) and Kate (7). The first two chapters have sad developments, and the following chapters include almost painfully long descriptions of landscapes, machines, and household tasks. The family is isolate for most of the book. It occasionally lost the girls' attention, and I don't blame them much. Although I was a huge fan of the series as a child, I do not remember this one being a favorite. While 3 stars may be too generous, one redeeming quality is that the book captures Laura's tra ...more
I don't think I will ever grow tired of these stories. I love them too much. Oh, what adventures they had.
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.
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
Why oh why do we skip like three years?! *sigh* This used to be my favorite Little House book, but then I read the next two. This might be my third or fourth favorite now. They're all so good! I love that Laura finds a friend in her cousin. And I love the descriptions of the prairie! It's amazing how fast it grew! And Mr. Edwards gets back! I love how he helps Pa get the claim! And the night they go sliding on the ice!!! Obviously, I love descriptions of big open spaces.

I also loved hearing abou
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
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.
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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
Tracey Morait
Apr 28, 2015 Tracey Morait rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
In Plum Creek, the Ingalls family are recovering from scarlet fever. Mary Ingalls is the most badly affected as she is now blind. Life for the family has become hard and food is scarce, so when Pa is promised a job and decides they must relocate, he moves them to South Dakota, though his wife Caroline is reluctant to leave. They settle near Silver Lake. Laura, now 12-years-old, describes how she becomes Mary's 'eyes', telling her everything she sees, and how her family learn to adapt to their ne ...more
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.
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
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
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
Tatyana Naumova
Всю книгу герои здесь живут в недостроенных домах и веселятся. Что же у них за наркотики: смотрите, наша старшая сестра ослепла, нашего отца пытались застрелить, нас чуть не сожрали волки, мы живем в каркасе дома, ой, как здорово, еще больше веселья! Почему мне не 8 лет, я была бы в восторге и считала это идеальными книгами.
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
Kelly Veatch
Read this for a class I am taking on the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Great story!
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.
Jupiter's Fury
This is where Laura really begins to step into womanhood. Her older sister is blind, Carrie is still just a child herself, and there's a new baby sister. More than ever, her parents rely on her, and we see Laura begin to realize the hard lessons of adulthood: there are many sacrifices to be made.

I felt this book to be one of transition. The Ingalls are finally going to stop moving (and I don't know how Caroline put up with Charles moving all over the damn place), and settle down. We finally get
Laura is growing up in this book - perhaps because Mary, her older sister, now needs her protection, and there is also another baby in the house, Laura has to assume a more responsible role. The book starts with a sense of quiet sadness (things have clearly been pretty grim in the years that have passed since the end of Plum Creek) and although there is almost immediately a note of optimism, as Pa takes a new job which will take them all to the west, there is one more tragedy for Laura to cope w ...more
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
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
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cause of Mary's blindness 25 129 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)

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“We'd never get anything fixed to suit us if we waited for things to suit us before we started.” 61 likes
“Roma tidaklah dibangun dalam waktu sehari. Begitu juga sebuah jalan kereta api. Atau hal-hal lain yang menyenangkan dalam hidup ini. - Charles Ingalls” 6 likes
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