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The Song of Hiawatha
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The Song of Hiawatha

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,126 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
The Song of Hiawatha is based on the legends and stories of many North American Indian tribes, but especially those of the Ojibway Indians of northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They were collected by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the reknowned historian, pioneer explorer, and geologist. He was superintendent of Indian affairs for Michigan from 1836 to 1841.
Paperback, 212 pages
Published September 6th 2007 by Book Jungle (first published 1855)
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Debbie Zapata
Nov 19, 2016 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
Petra X
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 11, 2008 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 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) --

May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This poem stays with me since I first read portions of it to my son when he was a child. He loved hearing the names of various animals. We have a street named Wah-wah-tay-see Way here in my fair city (dragonfly). I read aloud one of my favorite sections of Hiawatha for a Toastmasters advanced project and people who'd never experienced it were fascinated. Poetry! It was an eye-opener for some. Since it's a book I own, I can go to it any time I like and enjoy it. And I do.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Gina Johnson
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 5star rating was my own. My oldest (who was the one actually assigned to read this) enjoyed it and I really liked it. Most of my other children (ages 9,7, and 5) didn't love it but they did understand it and could tell me what was going on and I've heard all of them reference it in their play so I call that a win!
Jan 25, 2014 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 22, 2015 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.
Dave H
Feb 22, 2012 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.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
I liked this "song" until the last "refrain". The way Hiawatha left his people (and who he tells them to 'follow') did not make sense to me.
Feb 28, 2009 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.
Becky Ankeny
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never previously read the entire Henry Wadsworth Longfellow epic, The Song of Hiawatha, and it was well worth the read. Published in 1855, it is a decently respectful celebration of northern Native American culture infused with many Native American words (mostly Ojibwa) used accurately and lovingly. Longfellow had a gift for languages, and it is clear that he enjoyed the words in themselves. I'd be interested in knowing how a Native American reader would respond to this poem, particularly s ...more
Ellen Wilkey
You know I had given this three stars but the more I think about the ending the more I hate it.
Aug 28, 2008 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
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
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
Jul 17, 2014 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
Sep 20, 2016 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.
Jan 23, 2008 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 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!
Noran Miss Pumkin
bookstore find 8/08. reread for the first time since childhood. Beautiful illustrations!
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.
The edition I read is a facsimile (published in the mid-twentieth-century by Bounty Books) of an 1890 edition which Frederic Remington illustrated. The poem, of course, was originally published in 1854. The one Remington illustrated has a glossary and explanatory notes at the back. It is a most attractive edition. Remington did about ten full-page plates. Every page has several drawings in the margins, usually of tools, animals or dwelling-places. You may be able to find this, as I did, at a pub ...more
I came to this one thinking it an obligation - I've spent my whole adulthood in the Twin Cities and you can't throw a rock in South Minneapolis without hitting something that's been named after a character from this poem. Say Hiawatha, Minnehaha, or Nokomis to a Minneapolitan and you'll end up in a conversation about a bad road, a huge park, a quaint shopping street, a waterfall, a suburban lake, or any number of liquor stores and restaurants. You've even got Gordon Lightfoot's use of "Gitche Gu ...more
Nov 02, 2016 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
Mark Isaak
If you want a famous poem
honoring the Noble Savage
and are not unduly bothered
by tetrameter trochaic
seeming endless and relentless,
then the "Song of Hiawatha"
probably befits your fancy.
Many scattered sections of it
paint appealing verbal pictures
as a proper poem ought to.
But, perhaps to fit the meter,
language oft unnaturally
sounds unto the reader's hearing.
And Longfellow makes much use of
repetition through his epic;
Many lines use repetition,
repetition and repeating.
These, for me, detract from liki
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Dandelion allegory 4 5 Aug 08, 2014 07:36PM  
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“When thou are not pleased, beloved,
Then my heart is sad and darkened,
As the shining river darkens
When the clouds drop shadows on it!

When thou smilest, my beloved,
Then my troubled heart is brightened,
As in sunshine gleam the ripples
That the cold wind makes in rivers.”
“For his heart was in his work, and the heart giveth grace unto every art.” 22 likes
More quotes…