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

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Other authorsGarth Williams (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2004



Local notes

PB Wil


HarperCollins (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages


Ma and the girls follow Pa west by train where they make their home at a rough railroad camp and plan for their own homestead.


Original publication date


Physical description

304 p.; 5.13 inches


0060581840 / 9780060581848



User reviews

LibraryThing member hlselz
I didnt think this one was as good as the previous Little House books. But still enjoyable.
LibraryThing member wordygirl39
Never my favorite. I think even as a child I sensed the desperation in Ma at having to move yet again, the family's unstable financial situation, Laura's struggle to become a young woman of purpose and meaning in a world that didn't expect that of her. Dark book, right from the early chapters when we learn Mary is blind, Laura's exposed to "rough men" with her "fast" cousin Lena, and she's forced to give away her childhood doll, Charlotte, that she later finds upended in an icy prairie pool. Lots of pain in this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member June6Bug
Classic, must-read series for kids of all ages.
LibraryThing member selfcallednowhere
Well, I said I liked [book: On the Banks of Plum Creek] the best, but I think it might actually be tied with this one. It seems that as Laura writes about herself getting older writing becomes more mature, and the language in this one was really beautiful. But this book does have some of the saddest moments in it too. Now, onward to [book: The Long Winter], which my mom and I got stuck in the middle of and never finished.… (more)
LibraryThing member mrsarey
The story of Laura picks up with Mary suddenly blind and Pa ready to move on again, to Ma's disappointment. He chooses to go to the Dakota Territory and promises Ma they will remain there. It's a very interesting story of how a town was begun and the rush on land.
LibraryThing member ovistine
Another excellent addition to the Little House series on audio CD. This is probably my least favorite of the books so far, as there's less frontier/pioneer material, but I think the next book will be better.
LibraryThing member gillis.sarah
This one has grown on me over the years. When I first read it, I didn't like it as much as I liked 'On the Banks of Plum Creek', but now I can appreciate it anyway.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
This novel was a return to lots more adventures for the Ingalls family. I particularly enjoyed seeing how the town of DeSmet was raised up from the dust of the prairie in a mad rush for land and business. My kids loved the night that the family woke up to snow on their beds from a spring storm that rushed through the unfinished cracks on their 'storefront' building.… (more)
LibraryThing member amerynth
The fifth book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's terrific series of memiors about her life in the American west. This installment brings the Ingalls family out to South Dakota, where they spend a winter alone in new homesteading territory and see a town literally spring up around them as the snow recedes. I've found that Wilder's writing style has improved and I particularly enjoyed this installment's tales -- plenty of interesting historical tidbits and a few exciting tales as well (including fleeing from a wolf.) Although these books are written for a much younger audience (than me,) I'm very glad I decided to read through the series, as the books don't disappoint.… (more)
LibraryThing member sdbookhound
The first book taking place in Dakota Territory. Laura Ingalls Wilder had a way of describing her surroundings that make the reader truly able to visualize it themselves. Although other titles in the series are more my favorites, I still love this one.
LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
This is the fifth book in the "Little House" series. The Ingalls family head west again to the wilds of South Dakota. They settle, of course, by the shores of Silver Lake and a town practically springs up around them. It's a slightly different tale of pioneer life--interesting in it's own right. It's not the best in the series, but it's still worth checking out.
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LibraryThing member dgadkins88
Laura Ingalls Wilder retains information from her childhood and retells the story of her family moving into the troubled Dakota Territory. Here she struggles to deal with the loss of the family dog, Jack and of her sister's blindness. She assists her older sister by describing their new surroundings as well as her new home she will be living in. Laura also loves to rides a horse and encourages her family to get through a cold winter.… (more)
LibraryThing member eesti23
By the Shores of Silver Lake is the fifth book in the Little House on the Prairie series and was so far my least favourite. The family have all suffered scarlet fever in Plum Creek, which left Mary blind. An offer of work takes the family West to Dakota Territory, where they become some of the first settlers in the new town of De Smet.… (more)
LibraryThing member puckrobin
In this installment of her autobiographical series, Ingalls Wilder and her family begin the move to the American West that will determine the rest of her life. These books were so much a part of my childhood - at one point my mother made me a "Little House" dress in pink gingham with a bonnet. Many of my "pretend" games involved me living as I imagined Laura and her family living. I have re-read them many times over, and when I have done so as an adult I was interested to consider the values and morals expressed in the book as being morals and values that I absorbed, sometimes even when those values were not necessarily taught in my family.… (more)
LibraryThing member Molly2Faith
This book is the 5th book in the little house on the prairie series. The family moves to South Dakota and experiences many sicknesses as well as Laura's sisters' blindess. Laura loves riding the horses. She encourages the family to stay strong through all their sicknesses and a cold winter.
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
If you know the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder you know these two things. Little House on the Prairie is not the first book in the series (Little House in the Big Woods is) and By the Shores of Silver Lake is the fifth book in the nine-book series. You also know "the Laura series" are both autobiographical and historical fiction.

By the Shores of Silver Lake is a continuation of On the Banks of Plum Creek. From Plum Creek the Ingalls family has moved to Silver Lake so that Charles Ingalls, the patriarch of the family, can help with the building of the transcontinental railroad. The Ingalls family is to become the first settlers in the town of De Smet, South Dakota. Told in third person by middle daughter, Laura, the shores of Silver Lake is an exciting place to be. She is happy to be out of the big woods and away from Plum Creek. Despite Laura's mother's admonishments to be lady-like and demure, Laura is irrepressible. She loves to run wild across the grasslands and go exploring. One of my favorite scenes is the wild pony ride she takes with Cousin Lena. Her spirit is as big as the unsettled territory her family has arrived to claim. She appears brave and adventurous although, interestingly enough, she would die if anyone knew she is afraid of meeting new people.
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LibraryThing member cspine
It seems that as Laura writes about herself getting older writing becomes more mature, and the language in this one was really beautiful. But this book does have some of the saddest moments in it too. Now, onward to The Long WInter, which my mom and I got stuck in the middle of and never finished.
LibraryThing member satyridae
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 got less backbone every book. And Mary's a saint, Carrie's a whiner and Grace is a cipher.

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LibraryThing member amandamay83
With each book I read, I hate Mary more and more.

I especially liked the Christmas portion of this book. Likely all the more so because I know what comes in the next book, The Long Winter. (But, oh! How I laughed at Pa and his notion that South Dakota winters were milder!)
LibraryThing member thatotter
I love all the Little House books, but this one is not my absolute favorite--less joyful and exciting, I think.
LibraryThing member EmScape
Laura and her family, 3 years older now, have decided to leave the Plum Creek area of Minnesota to go West again. The Ingalls farm hasn't been producing as well as hoped after the grasshopper fiasco and Pa is offered a job in a Railroad store. Again, the family leaves on a journey and starts from scratch at their destination. Better fortunes follow them this time, which is good, but Laura soon realizes she's not pleased with the life her Ma has in mind for her. Laura wants to explore and be wild and Ma wants a sedate schoolteacher for a daughter. I can see a conflict coming!
This pioneer family is fun to read about and good for young people to contrast with how life is nowadays.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
On her first train ride, Laura tries to comprehend the view out the window: A telegraph wire swooped up and down beyond the window.... Beyond the wire, grasslands and fields and scattered farmhouses went by. They went so fast that Laura could not really look at them before they were gone. In one hour that train would go twenty miles -- as far as the horses traveled in a whole day." On a wagon trip across the wild empty prairie: "Noon ended too soon. Pa led the horses to drink from the creek, while Ma and Laura picked up the eggshells and bits of paper, to leave the place tidy." Laura has never ridden horseback: "Jean's pony seemed larger every minute. It was big and strong enough to kill Laura if it wanted to.... She was so scared to ride it that she had to try." Pa is excited about their new home: "'And best of all, Caroline, we're among the very first out here!' But all their talking did not mean anything to the enormous silence of that prairie." This is the one where there are finally hopes that Ma can have neighbors, the family can settle down, and Laura realizes that, since Mary is now blind, Laura is the daughter who will be a teacher in this generation. (Though I do always wonder why it couldn't be Carrie who follows in her mother's footsteps....) Mary is a bit of a prig - but it's probably her way of coping with her new disability. Ma still irons laundry every week - I suppose it's her pride, her way of clinging to her sense of self. Carrie and Grace are nondescript. Pa plays and sings a *lot* of songs, almost none of which I know.

(Of course this is my umpteenth reread, but, I believe, the first since I was a young teen.)"
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LibraryThing member BookConcierge
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 plenty of adventure ahead of her.

I never read this series as a child, and I’m so glad I decided to begin reading them a few years ago. Wilder gives the reader a good picture of the joys and sorrows of pioneer life – the harshness of weather, the bounty of a good crop and plenty of game to hunt, the dangers of the wilderness, the joy of company, and the comfort and security of family. Life is far from easy for the Ingalls family, but they have each other and they are willing to work hard. They are blessed, indeed.

Cherry Jones is simply marvelous performing the audio books. She brings Laura to life, and through her performance the listener experiences the excitement of a first train ride, the anxiety of waiting for Pa to return, the joy of Christmas morning with the family.

These books are just a joy to read.
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
I've been dipping into a reread of the Little House books for a while now (this time is the first, I'm quite sure, since childhood). They have a gentle lyricism to them that surprises me as an adult, and the pioneering details are a delight. It always strikes me now how very close to real, horrible disaster Laura and her family were so much of the time, and how careful the parents are to keep real knowledge of that horror from the children. In this one, for instance, spoiler the family lives the entire winter alone on the prairie with no one else around for hundreds of miles (and later just one other couple nearby). Even a minor medical issue or, say, a fire, would have meant death. And later, when homesteaders start showing up in the spring, the family boards them as there is nowhere else. Ma improvises a lock for the girls' bedroom and tells them not to come out in the morning until she calls for them. Because she doesn't want them around the "rough men." As an adult reader, I know that it isn't just hanging out with rough men that Ma is worried about it. Pa is also presented as the one who knows all (how does he know all that stuff?) and who can do no wrong. But reading between the lines, he's kind of cavalier and sometimes downright irresponsible with his family. Much of these books are chilling now, as well as fascinating and pleasant, overall.… (more)
LibraryThing member nx74defiant
Being a teacher was Mary's dream. Now that Mary has gone blind Laura is expected to be a teacher. Ma had been a teacher and she wants one of a daughters to be one. Laura feels she must grow up to teach for her mother and for Mary. When the Ingalls learn of a Blind College in Iowa, Laura becomes to become a teacher so she can help Mary go to school. Laura dreads it but feels she has to. What else can she do?… (more)

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