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By the Shores of Silver Lake

(Little House #5)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  66,826 ratings  ·  1,269 reviews
The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their little house on the banks of Plum Creek to the wilderness of the unsettled Dakota Territory. Here Pa works on the new railroad until he finds a homestead claim that is perfect for their new little house. Laura takes her first train ride as she, her sisters, and their mother come out to live wit ...more
Paperback, 357 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by HarperTrophy (first published October 1939)
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Jimmy Warner That's sad to hear. I remember watching the TV Show as a Kid and Just started reading the books. And absolutly love them. Althou so far, Not much of t…moreThat's sad to hear. I remember watching the TV Show as a Kid and Just started reading the books. And absolutly love them. Althou so far, Not much of the TV Show is following the books, It looks like they've added some things and taken things out.

I'd love to go visit the actual house if it still exists.(less)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  66,826 ratings  ·  1,269 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sniffs. Wipes away tear

Laura knew then that she was not a little girl any more. Now she was alone; she must take care of herself. When you must do that, then you do it and you are grown up.

Oh, they grow up so fast, don't they? I do wish that this series could stay with Laura as a young girl - running around and having adventures with Ma, Pa and her sisters. But, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote this as autobiographical and so her younger-self had to grow.

Gone are the isolated cabins in Wisconsin
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.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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!

These books give such a view into the psyche of America back when the land was being settled. The pace is slow compared to today's literature, but there is something here.

One of the best parts of the book is toward the end. The Ingalls family are living out on the prairie alone during the winter. The spring comes and droves of men begin coming through. The Ingalls have the only house so they all stay with them. The town literally is put up in two weeks. I was shocked. I can't believe how that h
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
Like every book in the series this one is filled with moments of poignant hardship (Mary going blind) and sweet levity. Pa’s wanderlust hasn’t rested, but he’s agreed for Ma’s sake to stay put. About time, is what I have to say to that. She put up with a lot, that woman.
Another enjoyable read. Laura is growing up and while the story is still kid friendly there are some more serious things that happened that made it less lighthearted than the previous book. A couple things early on even made me cry a little (view spoiler) In spite of these sad things it was still interesting to see the way Laura is maturing and becomi ...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
David Schaafsma
Listened to this volume with kids, in car, over supper. And it, the whole series, is an old classic I might have been tempted to dismiss. I had three sisters and all these books were in the house and I read everything, so I knew these stories decades ago, and it is surprising to return to them and find what a good writer Wilder is. This book was written in 1939, and is meant to reflect 1880 U.S., and it is a sort of fictional treatment of Ingalls's own experiences growing up, with herself as the ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always thought that this is where the series really started to grow up and mature, much like Laura herself. Sure, bad things happened in previous books, but you never really felt it, quite like you do here. I still always cry about Jack, and I always feel so sad about Mary, and about how Laura takes it upon herself to make sure Mary gets to go to college, no matter what Laura has to do.
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
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a series I read so much in childhood, and at least once as an adult, that I really didn't think it had anything more to offer me, but after reading Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, Laura's unpolished, first draft, autobiography, I felt an itch to pick up the Little House Books again. But not the first one; I wanted to start here, where it seems like the books really start to build on each other in a way they don't earlier in the series. This one, I've realized, is where the ser ...more
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-07-july
I still like Farmer Boy a little bit better, but of the stories about the Ingalls family, this one is the strongest so far. Charles Ingalls is definitely the main character of the series. Through the absolutely adoring eyes of Laura, our narrator, we see what a kind and loving father he was. Based on the events of the series so far, he was really weird. Much more anti-social than a guy desperate for opportunity. In a society where women like the Ingalls women had almost no power, Charles dragged ...more
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Ingalls have been living on the banks of Plum Creek for several years when Aunt Docia comes by en route to join her husband who is working on building a railroad to offer a job to Pa to run the company store and handle the payroll. Things haven't been going particularly well with growing wheat, and Mary has just gone blind after she, Ma, Carrie and the new youngest child Grace have had scarlet fever. The pay is good, Pa and Laura are itching to move west, so in the end Ma agrees since there
The Celtic Rebel (Richard)
Another wonderfully written entry in the Little House series. I loved it as a kid and have equally loved it as an adult. Wilder continues to give us wonderful insight on the way she saw and remembered things as she grew up. This has always been one of my favorite entries because we start to see Laura growing up. And situations within her family such as her sister, Mary, now being blind, made her grow up quicker than some her age.

These books are a window into our past, and I am always so thankfu
This isn't my favorite of the Little House books, but I still enjoyed it. Reading through as an adult, I am so amazed at the things "Ma" went through - wow. I love the view of settling the American West through the eyes of a child - they were in some really dangerous situations. Anyway, it's a great "comfort food" series for me.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So Mary went blind in between books and it was just barely touched on? Weird, but okay. This book was pretty exciting in its events, as has been the trend. I can't imagine how terrifying to be entirely by yourselves on the prairie like that, especially with the men threatening Pa.
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by the Cherry Jones

Wilder wrote this series of autobiographical novels in the early 1900s, and they are classics of children’s literature. This is the fifth book in the Little House series, wherein the Ingalls family heads to the Dakota Territory. They family has suffered serious illness, and Laura’s older sister, Mary, is now blind as a result of a bout of scarlet fever. Laura is growing up; she’s twelve years old now and taking on more responsibility. But there is still pl
3.5 stars
Continuing the audiobooks for this series I never read as a child.
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
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
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
I don't think I will ever grow tired of these stories. I love them too much. Oh, what adventures they had.
Jul 22, 2016 added it
Shelves: read-in-2016
The best part of the whole book was where Almanzo's family was mentioned, tbh. Super boring.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, Jack's dead so what is really the point of these stories now?
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I’m rereading these for the first time since I was a child inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s comment in Happier At Home about how Laura Ingalls Wilder is so adept at describing the concept and atmosphere of “home”. She’s so right. I’m sure I totally identified with Laura and Mary as a child but rereading them as an adult, I cannot stop putting myself in Ma’s place, constantly moving and having to establish a new home from scratch. I can read between the lines as an adult and understand that Ma was no ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, fuck. Guys, this is the one when Jack dies. If you thought I cried when Jack gets swept away crossing the river in Little House on the Prairie, you ain't seen nothing yet. Jack's death was so painful. Such a good dog. Hope that he's up there running around, chasing rabbits. Maybe he met Buford when he arrived, like the doggie Saint Peter.
Cindy Kubley
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book from the Little House series is peaceful and content. I have visited the land they set up their farm on so it is very dear to my heart! I even spent the night on their homestead!
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See similar books…
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.

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, #3)
  • Farmer Boy (Little House, #2)
  • 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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