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The Song of Hiawatha

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,571 ratings  ·  201 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, 184 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by 1st World Library (first published 1855)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,571 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Better Eggs
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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.
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the moon, Nokomis.
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,

Born circa 1450, Hiawatha was a Native American visionary. He is thought to be responsible for forming the Iroquois Confederacy, an alliance of five tribes that resulted
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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) --

Gina Johnson
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The Song of Hiawatha reminded me of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin in the way Longfellow beautifully crafted his verses. A lyrical story of a Native American hero who is quite magical. Three stars because I was ready for the adventure to end two-thirds of the way through.
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, ebook
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
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.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a series of black-and-white photos taken in the 1920s a group of girls at a New England summer camp act out scenes from The Song of Hiawatha. Old Nokomis is wrapped in a blanket and seated by the fire. Five noble braves in feather headdresses pose in a row with arms crossed. Hiawatha leads Minnehaha by the hand away from her father’s wigwam in the land of the Dacotahs.

Americans of European ancestry have tried for centuries to claim a share of the heritage of those their forebears conquered an
Becky Ankeny
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
Dave H
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
"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.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Before I began my current Longfellow poetry kick, I would have pegged "The Song of Hiawatha" as an embarrassingly dated relic of the 19th century. I can picture cartoon versions of the characters, Disnified into cute little scamps. But this is a reflection of how pervasive the poem once was in American culture. (A similar thing happened to Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," incidentally. There are versions with Mickey Mouse et al.)

Longfellow took Ojibwe tales (collected in a book publi
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Readable and entertaining. I enjoyed the mixture of Native American folklore mixed with the style of ancient epics.
Ellen Wilkey
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
You know I had given this three stars but the more I think about the ending the more I hate it.
What a gorgeous book! It is a great
poem too. I just want to stare at the pages. It honors the story of Hiawatha and the traditional stories of his tribe.
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
Angel Parrish
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry

Another classic that I can't believe it took me so long to read! How absolutely enthralling! No wonder this was required reading for so many years. Free verse poetry that tells a beautiful, captivating story. The descriptions are so specific and paint such beautiful pictures. The notes from Longfellow on how the names are accurate and the stories are all based on actual stories in Indian lore...this is absolutely mesmerizing. It would be great fun to read aloud and ac
Susan Mortimer
Oct 23, 2009 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
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
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
Vickie Sigler
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently heard a reference to this epic Longfellow poem and decided to reread it. Since it had been 55 years, I remembered very little beyond the lines most quoted: "By the shores of Gitchee-goumi...".
In reading it now, I picked up on the subtler, underlying telling of the history of the American Indian mythologies and the foreshadowing of the changes to come for their cultures as they were faced with the coming of Europeans and Christianity. I do not remember discussions of that in literatur
Sheryl Tribble
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Read the excerpts in the Best in Children's Books series many a time, and read another children's version or two and seen the Disney version as well, but this is the first time I've sat down to read the whole thing front to back.

I had no idea Longfellow's Hiawatha myth was on par with Paul Bunyan or John Henry! Here he is, steering his boat with his thoughts, while his buddy Kwasind swims ahead of him to "clear this river/ of it's sunken logs and sandbars." The children's versions I read skippe
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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
“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
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