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By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House) Paperback – May 11, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Laura and her family are headed to the Dakota Territory, and this time they’re traveling by train! Pa has a job with the railroad, and a chance to finally own his own land. But the new town of Desmet is quickly filling up with settlers, and the Ingalls family must do whatever it takes to defend their land.

Based on the real adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, BY THE SHORES OF SILVER LAKE is the sixth book in the award-winning Little House series. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. She and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. Later, Laura and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There, believing in the importance of knowing where you began in order to appreciate how far you've come, Laura wrote about her childhood growing up on the American frontier. For millions of readers Laura lives on forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.

Garth Williams's classic illustrations for the Little House books caused Laura to remark that she "and her folks live again in these pictures." Garth Williams also illustrated Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and almost one hundred other books.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Little House (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060581840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060581848
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in the Wisconsin woods in 1867. She wrote the Little House books based on her own experiences growing up on the Western frontier. Just like the characters in her stories, Laura and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest and experienced many of the same adventures. She finally settled down in Mansfield, Missouri with her husband, Almanzo, where she lived until her death in 1957.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hetling on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a thirty one year old man, I don't suppose I'm the target audience for the "Little House on the Prairie" series. But after reading this book on a whim, I have to say that I'm hooked.

Laura Ingalls and her family eke out a difficult living on the plains of Minnesota during the time of pioneers and native americans. They are a tightknit family focused on doing the right thing, but their closeness and morality are severely challenged by the harshness of prairie life. They battle floods, drought, fires, blizzards, and insect infestations, all while trying to earn enough money to work toward a better life. Laura and her sister Mary have their first experiences with church and with school, and have to try to fit in as country bumpkins among more street-smart peers (most notably the obnoxious and relatively rich Nellie Oleson).

I found this book to be very charming. The unrelenting goodness of the entire Ingalls family is a bit tiresome at times, but the unflagging earnestness with which it is portrayed won me over, and I soon found myself completely invested in their happiness. The fact that they are happy with so little is refreshing, especially when viewed against the backdrop of modern times. The fact that it took place so long ago, and in such a harsh setting, actually made the good-hearted characters seem more believable.

But what really sells this book is the authentic portrayal of the way of life that the Ingalls' live. Living in a dugout by a creek, cutting the grass to make hay, and knitting clothes during long and dreary days; the book's colorful details make a practically-extinct lifestyle come alive. In particular, the way that the Ingalls must observe nature and learn to live within the context of it's rhythms and cycles was very interesting.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Penny Thoughtful on May 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is both joyful and heartbreaking. As a child I spent hours acting out the story with my dolls...the oxen, the horses named Sam and David, the little church in town, the nice girls and the snobby girls in school, the flags and rushes on the creek, the horrible grasshoppers and Pa's being away for so long while he went to find work....This is a very detailed, gripping story that really makes time fly. I loved it best of all the books in the series, and I really liked them all!
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison ( on June 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
In this next book in the landmark "Little House" series, the Ingalls family decide to leave their farm by Plum Creek to find a new homestead on the prairie. The grasshoppers and poor crops in Minnesota were a little too much for them. In addition, some bad times appear for the Ingalls family in the time period between this and the previous book in the series. The whole family had been stricken with scarlet fever and the oldest daughter, Mary, is now blind because of it. In addition, although it is never mentioned in the books, Laura had a little baby brother at this time (Charles Frederic, "Freddy") who died before his first birthday (1875-1876). And, a new baby sister has been added to the family, Grace Pearl Ingalls (1877-1941). Laura's father gets a job acting as a storekeeper for the Chicago and North Western Railroad who are laying tracks through the Dakota terretory. While working for them, he finds a new homestead on the prairie and brings the rest of his family out. There is concern as to whether he will be able to file his claim on time; but, he does. The Ingalls family are among the first to live near the new town of De Smet, South Dakota (although South Dakota doesn't become a state until 1889). The time frame of this book is 1879-1880 and Laura Elizabeth Ingalls is 12-13 years old. The book was a 1940 Newbery Honor Book (that is, a runner-up to the Medal winner) for best contribution to American children's literature. And, it deserved it! Near the end of the book, Laura gets her first glimpse at the boy who will later become her husband, Almanzo Wilder.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Laura Ingalls Wilder described to us what we never would see--the building of railroads and towns right before her eyes. Her ability to describe makes you see the railroad being built in your own mind. This book really captures the emotions of growing up. From losing Jack, the brindle bulldog, to Mary's blindness to the hardships of no money. Laura struggles with the longing of wanting to keep going west but knows it can never happen. By being able to stay in the Surveyors House, they do not have to go back east but stay as far in the west as Laura feels she'll always be. The part where Carrie and Laura follow the moonbeam, while skating on the ice, made me appreciate the long cold winters here in the North. She appreciated all things wild and saw the beauty in the night. When they moved to the homestead, you could feel the heartache of knowing that was it for traveling in the wagon. You can feel the boredom in Laura while she is with Lena. Not that Lena was boring to Laura, but Laura saw Lena as someone who had so much freedom and would always be following the railroad while Laura would always be right where she is at. Little did Laura know that when she saw the beautiful brown Morgan horses, they and the young man driving them, would be her future.
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