Book Review: By the Shores of Silver Lake

Book Review: By the Shores of Silver LakeBy the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
Series: Little House #5
on October 14th 1953
Pages: 291
Reading Challenges: #LittleHouseRAL

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 with Pa on the shores of Silver Lake. After a lonely winter in the surveyors' house, Pa puts up the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the beautiful shores of Silver Lake. The Ingallses' covered-wagon travels are finally over.

The fifth installment of the Little House series follows Laura and her family, which now includes baby sister Grace, from Plum Creek (Minnesota) to South Dakoka – the town would later be named De Smet.

The story begins with Aunt Docia coming to tell Charles and family that her new husband has a job offer for him. It is one he can’t refuse – it pays $50 a month. Since the family is sick, Charles goes ahead without his wife and daughters to get settled before sending for his family. Mary has lost her sight due to scarlet fever, and everything is “shown” to Mary through words – mostly Laura’s. Once Pa sends for his family, the family packs up what they can and prepare for their journey…by train. Everyone is bewildered by the new mode of transportation. Before arriving in De Smet, the family has to stay over night in a hotel, which is also a first for the girls. Everyone is excited.

Once in De Smet, the family makes a temporary place to live as Pa works. Once work is over for the season (if I read correctly) the family is not sure where they will live but have plans to find a place to settle. They are fortunate enough to be asked to stay at the surveyor’s house while the winter is there and demolition is being done. Laura is amazed at the house, which is two stories and fully supplied with food.

During the winter a few new people are introduced: Mr. and Mrs. Boats who are newlyweds and arrive in the middle of a snow storm; Reverend Alden visits to inform the Ingalls of a college for the blind; and several homesteaders looking for land, who the Ingalls board to make money. The money is used to pay for Mary’s college tuition.

After the winter, Pa is able to find land and the family is able to make a home. The house is half a house and is finished (or partially finished) as the family moves in.

I enjoyed reading this one much like the others, but this one seemed to have a bit more action in it.



  1. Ooohhh…this sounds very different. Pa is actually working for a wage?!? And traveling on a train and staying in a hotel. Very cool! I am hoping to read this within the next week or so. Glad for your preview!

  2. I think you’re right about this one having more ‘action’ in that we are finally getting to see life beyond just their own nuclear family. There is more exposure to others and their struggles in establishing a new town, etc. I totally overlooked Reverend Alden’s reference to a school for the blind for Mary! That’s a biggie! And something for the all to work toward, perhaps! Nice review and thanks for linking!
    Lynn @ Smoke & Mirrors recently posted…From Plum Creek to Silver Lake!My Profile

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yeah I was happy that I enjoyed this one more. I was going to be highly disappointed if I didn’t.

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