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Niagara Falls, Or Does It? (Hank Zipzer, #1)
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Niagara Falls, Or Does It? (Hank Zipzer #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,650 Ratings  ·  203 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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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 :-)
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
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
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
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
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.
Pam Schwartz
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I decided to read Hank Zipzer when I learned that Lin Oliver co-authored it with Henry Winkler. I highly recommend her "Fantastic Frame" series as an early chapter book, and the Hank Zipzer story had the same quick pacing and believable, but entertaining dialogue that I really appreciate in the Fantastic Frame. I'm an adult reading early chapter books for work, and I know I like a story when it feels like it took no time at all to read. I enjoyed every minute that flew by as I read the first Han ...more
Mark Richards
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining. For those who enjoyed Joey Pigza, Hank Zipzer is a great follow up. It is both funny and a little painful as you recognize Hank's challenges while also seeing the limited perceptions of the adults around him. After reading this, I think everyone will remember interactions with a Hank. This book is a great reminder that we need to listen to our youth and treat them with the respect we would give anyone. Recommended for fourth grade and up.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Audio book with 9 yr old son. He loved it! I enjoyed it being read by Henry Winkler. Likeable characters.
Emily Smith
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ella Bianchi
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
This is a good series to read to help children understand that we all learn differently.
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.

* I hope that if Hank does have a learning challenge like ADHD, they can help him preferably without medication
* Hank's friends, Frankie & Ashley, were supportive, loyal and endearing, great friends
* Mr. Rock, the music teacher, was phenomenal
* Papa Pet
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
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
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 liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Young Reader Reaction: This is a very funny book. It would be great book for second graders and up. I love the friendships, too. The story reminds me of how teachers can have a positive impact on their students. My hope is that kids will have a greater appreciation for kids with learning disabilities and that parents will become aware of their child's needs and struggles. Just because a kid has a learning disability doesn't mean that they are lazy and not intelligent. I can't wait to read more b ...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
More about Henry Winkler...

Other Books in the Series

Hank Zipzer (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • I Got a D in Salami
  • Day of the Iguana
  • 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