Author Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: Little House #5
Publication Date April 8, 2008
The Ingalls family leaves Plum Creek.
Pa heads west to the unsettled wilderness of the Dakota Territory. When Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and Grace join him, they become the first settlers in the town of DeSmet. And Pa begins work on the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the shores of Silver Lake.
By the Shores of Silver Lake is a much more mature novel in comparison to the series thus far. Hardship has befallen Plum Creek. It is addressed right away that the Ingalls have suffered through Scarlet Fever with Mary becoming blind as a resolute. Also, even though it is not mentioned, in the gap between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake the Ingalls lose a child, a baby boy who was not yet a year old.
Laura is growing up fast and to symbolize this the beloved family dog, Jack dies before their journey to De Smit, North Dakota. It took a while to get use to the idea of Half Pint all grown-up but once I did it was a very enjoyable read. With Mary’s disability Laura is the go to girl for Ma and takes on more responsibility; such as cooking and cleaning and being the hostess with the mostess when company arrives. She is also most determined when Reverend Alden makes a surprise appearance and after learning of Mary’s newly developed situation, tells the Ingalls of a school for the blind in Iowa. Laura decides to fulfill her sister’s dream of an education and chooses to become teacher to help raise money for the tuition.
Laura must be Mary’s eyes and therefore gives Mary (and the reader) a vivid description of their ride on the train to North Dakota and the creation of a town. Everything from the train ride to North Dakota to the prairie grass of the Ingalls homestead is in vivid color. The enthusiasm of a new start and opportunity add a thrill to it, choosing a prime piece of land and planting trees, while seen written could appear tedious but left the book with a very optimistic feel.