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Niagara Falls, Or Does It?

(Hank Zipzer #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,898 ratings  ·  235 reviews
Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler, whose undiagnosed dyslexia made him a classic childhood underachiever, the Hank Zipzer series is about the high-spirited and funny adventures of a boy with learning differences.

It's science project time in Ms. Adolf's class. This is good news and bad news for Hank-he loves science, but he hates the report part. So H
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 10th 2004 by Grosset & Dunlap (first published January 1st 2003)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,898 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book the ranking of "It was amazing," not because it was the greatest piece of literature I have ever read, but because of what it does for students with learning disabilities. Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver have helped to put words to the feelings that many children have. The fact that Hank is a fourth grader helps students not feel that this is a "baby book." These are excellent books to be READ TO struggling students or for struggling students to listen to the audio on cassette or C ...more
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio version of this, and found it to be a really fun, humorous story--and also inspiring and upbeat. I think I would have liked the story anyway, but Henry Winkler's energetic, hilarious reading really made it for me :-)
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read a few of the Here's Hank books, and really enjoyed them. So, I thought I would give the actual series a try. The first book, is just as adorable as the Here's Hank books. The children are a little older, their in the 4th grade here, but they are still the same characters. Hank is still hilarious, I love that little guy, I feel, he could actually be my real son, if I ever have one. His learning challenges and the way he describes them, reminds me a lot of my time in school. Just like Ha ...more
Crystal Smith
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
As an adult, I found the "funny" scenes a bit contrived, but my son liked them very much. Adults are given a good degree of complexity, and fathers and mothers are both involved in their children's lives. It is very refreshing to see fathers dropping off or picking up their kids from school while mothers work. There is also some mild stereotyping in the character of the grade 4 teacher, but the overall message was so good that it is hard to find fault. (This image of the teacher might change as ...more
Jeff Grosser
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited when I found out that Henry Winkler narrates the first four kid's books he wrote in the series about Hank Zipzer: The Mostly True Confessions of the World's Best Underachiever. I love Henry's personality and if you've ever seen him tell a story on TV then you know how wonderful he is at storytelling. This book also has a very important message about being different and dealing with learning challenges. I don't know if I'll read all 17 books in the series, but I will definitely l ...more
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for all teachers,students, and most parents (those who shouldn't read are those whose kids have no struggles in school and get all "A's" on second thought perhaps they need to read it have an understanding of what others go through) This book probably would be considered to be a young adult (or younger) book, however, the story is for everyone. Hank is a smart kid and the book says he is creative and funny. He wants to do well, but has challenges. Ma ...more
For a kid who can directly empathize with Hank, this is a five star read. It's a bit too juvenile & silly for me and I am not excited to reader further in the series. Otoh, I do ache for kids who don't get diagnosed until 4th-grade (or later), who try hard but are always in the principal's office anyway. So I am glad this series is available.

(I think I prefer Joey Pigza, though.)
May 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Would you like to read a great book full of adventure than you should read Hank Zipper this summer, its short funny and really intresting .It has its boring parts but over all it was great.I do recommend this book to ages 9-12
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining book from "The Fonz" with a great message regarding the differences in how people learn and how we treat those who don't fit the mold.
May 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was OK kind of funny and boring I don't recommend this book if you like adventure
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was introduced to this book several years ago when looking for potential therapeutic books in my work as a psychologist. I was informed that this would be a great book to work with kids with ADHD or other learning challenges. I was not informed, however, that this story was actually a series of chapter books, and while the included title is only one of these stories, there are upwards of 17 additional stories in the Hank Zipzer series. I'm glad this is the case ,as I not only enjoyed listening ...more
2.5 stars. Recommend for a child with ADD or ADHD or a classmate or a sibling. I am just not into elementary boy humor. This wasn't bad, but it's just not good. I think I will try listening, if I decide to try another book in the series.

after 2 books. I read the first book & listened to the second book & now I'm done.

* I hope that if Hank does have a learning challenge like ADHD, they can help him preferably without medication
* Hank's friends, Frankie & Ashley
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is the first day of 4th grade and the loud speaker in the classroom crackles on. Over the PA system comes the voice of principal Love "Hank Zipzer! report to Principal Love's office at once."

The classroom gets very quiet and as Hank leaves the room the loud speaker crackles to life again.
"And don't you dare stop in the bathroom, young man."

When Hank arrives in the Principal's office he receives a reprimand for being late to school. Oh no, Hank is in trouble already and it is just the first d
Hank Zipzer has trouble in school and when fourth grade begins, his class is given an assignment that he is sure he cannot do. Ms. Adolf assigns a five paragraph essay on their summer vacation. He struggles, he tries, he contemplates...but, then he decides to use his creativity and create a 'talking essay'. After all, he knows tons of facts about Niagara Falls, his summer vacation destination with his family, he just has a difficult time getting those facts down with pencil and paper.

He creates
Lauren Rhodes
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All ages
Literature Requirement Award Winner – 2015 Blue Stem Nominee

Hank Zipper the main character a misunderstood to be little bit of a rebel rouser. He is called into the principals office his very first day of school. He returns to class a little bit shook up and his teacher has giving him a writing assignment to write a whole whooping five paragraphs about his summer vacation. Hank has difficulty writing even one sentence how he is he ever going to get this assignment done. Hank has dyslexia but he
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book tells the tale of Hank Zipzer, who feels like the world's greatest underachiever. It's Hank's first day of year four and the teacher sets the task of writing a five paragraph essay chronicling what they did over the Summer holiday. Hank struggles with dyslexia so decides to build his project (a replica of Niagara Falls) instead and bring it into the classroom, which results in a classroom flood and two weeks detention. It seems that Hank's creative ideas keep getting him into trouble a ...more
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is a book with several plots: will Hank, starting fourth grade with his friends Ashley and Frankie, be able to dazzle Ms. Adolf with his project on "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" so she forgets that it is not a 5 paragraph essay? Will Frankie, Ashley and Hank be able to pull a small furry creature out of a hat at their premiere magic show at the Rock 'N Bowl? Will we find out why, despite his amazing creativity and memory for facts, Hank doesn't do well in school, and is often late and ...more
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the young at heart
Sometimes I need a change of pace, especially with listening to a lot of gut-wrenching books. I grabbed this book off the library shelf at work because of the author Henry Wrinkler. I didn't know it was inspired by his childhood until a friend told me. Then I read the credits.
" Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler, whose undiagnosed dyslexia made him a classic childhood underachiever, the Hank Zipzer series is about the high-spirited and funny adventures of a boy with learning
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Henry Winkler (The Fonz) has written a wonderful series of books about a boy named Hank Zipzer (The World's Greatest Underachiever). These stories are based on some of his experiences as a youth with dyslexia. This is book 1 in the series. Hank really wants to do well in school and in life, but his best intentions have a funny way of falling apart. My dyslexic son loves them -- not just because they are funny and engaging, but because Winkler does such a great job describing the feelings and exp ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Hank Zipzer decides to make a hands-on school project rather than write the five-paragraph essay assigned by his teacher. Hank dreams of the accolades he will receive for his creativity. However, when his project demonstration goes awry, Hank earns no praise, only detention and grounding. Lucky for Hank, he spends his detention with Mr. Rock, the music teacher, who looks beyond Hank's "shortcomings" and recognizes Hank's strengths. Winkler and Oliver, in writing the Zipzer series, help readers s ...more
Hank Zipzer: Niagara Falls, or Does It? follows the realistic story of a boy named Hank Zipzer and his wild adventure. Hank lives with undiagnosed dyslexia which makes him the perfect underachiever with wildly funny stories. Those his brain may not understand math or reading he is the perfect creative mind which sometimes gets him in trouble. In this first book Hank has to create a science project where he decides to put together a report and a replica of a working Niagara Falls. During his pres ...more
Dianne J.
Age of readership: Ages 8-10

Genre: Series Book

Diversity: Everyone learns differently

Illustrations: None

My response to the book: This is the first book in a series and is written from the perspective of a 4th grade boy growing up in NYC who has difficulty with homework assignments and school work in general. He states repeatedly that he thinks he is stupid, but as the story unfolds you see his family and friends in the neighborhood he lives in as a very supportive network and one teacher brings u
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fourth-grade underachiever Hank claims he wants to do the right thing, but somehow he always messes up. Take the assignment Hank's teacher doles out on the first day of school: write a five-paragraph essay, "What I did on my summer vacation." Since writing is hard for him, Hank creates a visual presentation on his visit to Niagara Falls instead--and winds up flooding the classroom. Some of the characters are stereotypes, such as buffoonish Principal Love and Hank's overly strict teacher, Ms. Ad ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: junior-fiction
At Salt Lake City's first Comic Con I had the privilege of hearing a panel by Henry Winkler. He talked about growing up with a learning disability and how his parents were not supportive of him. It touched my soul having my own issues with dyslexia and my mother's issues with her mother. I was fortunate to meet with Mr. Winkler and purchase an autographed copy of one of his Hank Zipper novels which chronicles the lead character's experience with learning challenges.

This is the first book in the
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hank is not at all sure about fourth grade, especially when he gets called to the principal's office on the first day! Then his teacher assigns a five paragraph essay about what you did on your summer vacation. Hank and his family took a fun trip to Niagara Falls but the idea of writing about it sends him into panic mode. He just isn't any good at writing. Hank comes up with a brilliant alternative plan! Will his teacher love it as much as he does? And what about the magic show his best friend i ...more
Tracy Akers
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
My grandson and I love Hank Zipzer! We highly recommended ALL of them!
Susan Menk
Tags: Hank Zipzer, magic show, friendship, apartment building, dyslexia, school, series

Hank Zipzer is a new fourth grader and is assigned a five paragraph essay on what he did over summer vacation. Hank is creative and decides to make Niagara Falls instead of write the essay (since he can't seem to get the words on paper). When his project turns into a disaster, Hank is in big trouble! While serving detention, Hank meets Mr. Rock who visits his parents with his concerns that Hank is not an under
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
4th grader Hank has so many problems in school; especially in spelling! That is why he is horror stricken when he is asked to write a 5 paragraph essay on the 1st day of school. Instead of writing, he is intent on building a diorama of Niagara Falls, and telling his class all about his trip and facts that he learned. He knows everything he is going to say and he has fantastic information, but his “project” malfunctions and instead of remembering all the good things Hand said the teacher, princip ...more
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Henry Winkler is instantly recognizable and admired by audiences of all ages for his role as the Fonz on the long-running series, Happy Days. In addition, he is an award-winning producer and director of family and children's programming. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Hank Zipzer series, which follows the everyday adventures of a bright boy with learning challenges.

Mr. Winkler

Other books in the series

Hank Zipzer (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • I Got a "D" in Salami (Hank Zipzer, #2)
  • Day of the Iguana (Hank Zipzer, #3)
  • The Zippity Zinger
  • The Night I Flunked My Field Trip
  • Holy Enchilada! (Hank Zipzer, #6)
  • Help! Somebody Get Me Out of Fourth Grade
  • Summer School! What Genius Thought That Up?
  • My Secret Life as a Ping-Pong Wizard
  • My Dog's a Scaredy-Cat: A Halloween Tail
  • The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down