Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

These tales are distinctive, not only for their appealing stories but also for the rich, descriptive language that Charles Finger uses to pass them on to his readers. While traveling throughout South America, the author collected legends at first hand from South American Indians; nineteen of these stories are featured as separate chapters in Tales from Silver Lands. Finger retells the legends in a direct and charming manner, elaborating on details that appeal to the senses, much as the original storytellers must have done. Each story is retold with respect, and many are prefaced with descriptions of the persons who told them. Woodcuts by Paul Honore are found at the beginning of each chapter, contributing to the magical flavor of the stories. These tales of origin and enchantment describe the native creatures and natural settings of South American countries and reflect the traditional values of those who tell them. The weaknesses and foibles of humans are writ large, with greed, avarice, sloth, gluttony, and selfishness vividly portrayed. Traditional values are demonstrated in the persons of virtuous heroes who are brave, strong, faithful, persistent, and unselfish.

The origin tales include “A Tale of Three Tails,” from Honduras, which tells how the rabbit, deer, and rat came to have short tails and why the armadillo has a thick, leathery skin. Other stories explain the origins of seals, llamas, and monkeys. The quests of brave young men are...

(The entire section is 501 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Tales from Silver Lands are set in South America during the turn of the century, although many of the stories appear to be...

(The entire section is 95 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Finger relates the Tales from Silver Lands in the style of mythical folk stories, told with a definite South American flavor. He uses...

(The entire section is 345 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Readers of Tales from Silver Lands will find a stereotypical view of women. According to these stories, females are to be protected...

(The entire section is 201 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. How is the rhyme: "I must do what I can/ Is the thought of a man" related to the theme of "A Tale of Three Tails"? Do you think it is...

(The entire section is 363 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. According to the tales in Tales from Silver Lands, what is the source of evil in the world, and why does it exist? Will evil last...

(The entire section is 231 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Finger has written other collections of folktales. Tales Worth Telling and Golden Tales from Far Away contain stories gathered...

(The entire section is 134 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Finger, Charles J. Seven Horizons. New York: Doubleday, 1930. This autobiography describes Finger's true-life adventures.


(The entire section is 46 words.)