Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates” as Want to Read:
Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  12,639 Ratings  ·  323 Reviews
"Gretel looked at her mother in troubled silence, wondering whether it were very wicked to care more for one parent than for the other-and sure, yes, quite sure, that she dreaded her father, while she clung to her mother with a love that was almost idolatry." from Hans Brinker

A beloved childhood favorite for a century and a half-and a book that readers continue to enjoy a
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1865)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
What a delightful book this is. I am generally disappointed by children’s books, but Mary Mapes Dodge did not talk down to her audience, and as a result the read is enjoyable, even for an adult.

Interestingly enough, I had thought this book was written by a Hollander, but it was written by an American. She obviously wanted her young readers to learn something about a nation that she so clearly admired, so she included a great deal of history, descriptions of customs and well-drawn images of the
I'm reading this to decide if it gets to stay with me or not. I have a very, very bad (or maybe good) habit of buying books I haven't read because I've heard they're good. Or I want to read them. Or they're on sale. This was one such book. 'Hey, everyone has read Hans Brinker, I should too.'

Thus far I'm really liking it so maybe it was a good thing I bought it (several years ago and am just now getting around to it).

September 20, 2009 - I finished! Yes, it took me much longer to read than normal
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Luxuries unfit us for returning to hardships easily endured before.

That is one of the little gems which pop up throughout this classic book of children's literature. Published in 1865, it was second only to Dickens that year in sales. Written by an American who had never been to the Netherlands before the book was written, it has, apparently, been a much-loved book handed down through the generations. Although I come from Flemish/Dutch ancestry, this book was unknown in my family, perhaps becaus
Sarah Grace
A wonderful tale of a close-knit family, set in the beauty of Holland. I come back to this nearly every winter! A perfect read to curl up in front of the fireplace with.
Το κοριτσακι με το άσχημο , φτωχικό παιδικό περιβάλλον, με εναν πατερα βαριά άρρωστο που βγαινει πρωτο σε παγοδρομίες και βαζει κατω τις σνομπ γνωστες της με τα λεφτα και τα φτιασίδια, ένα υπεροχο βιβλίο! Κερδίζει το έπαθλο σε πείσμα όλων και ας μάχεται με τις πιο αντίξοες συνθήκες !ψυχη,γενναιοτητα,ηθος!
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the greatest books for children I've ever met. Indeed you won't meet such books nowadays, not with such a beautiful language and such good lessons to teach.

I've read Hans Brinker twice. The first time was when I was 11 or 12 and it impressed me so much that till now it is the second association with Holland for me (after the tulips :))

So when this year I was searching for something to read during the Christmastime and occasionally saw the title among the list of other Christmas b
Megan Anderson
Jan 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: formystudents, 2010
Worst. Book. Ever.

Okay, maybe not the worst, but a really boring, awful book. The actual story of Hans could be told in about fifty pages. The edition I read on Google Books was nearly three hundred pages long. I can appreciate it for the historical things--I've read enough books from this time period to know that the personalities of the Brinker children and some of the other boys are how the authors imagined children, and the "history of Holland" asides are in there to educate small children
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an old-fashioned children's book, with a story meant to encourage the development of character and Christian values in its readers. I might be frustrated with its didactic tone if it were not for the fascinating background it gives on the Netherlands. Overall, it's rather charming.
Lisa Vegan
I loved this book as a kid and reread it several times. It was especially enjoyable while eating Dutch chocolate shoes. ;-) This book made me fascinated with all things Holland. I still have the edition I read when I was 8 or 9.
Steve Hemmeke
I can't believe I made it through an upbringing in Holland, Michigan as a descendant of Dutch Immigrants, without having read Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates before now.

A good third of the middle of this book is a travelogue of the Netherlands, with some history thrown in. There are some classical references I had to look up, even though it's a children's story. It was written in 1865.

It's full of pithy sayings, supposedly from the Dutch. My favorite was "Humble wife is husband's boss." Somet
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed reading this book. It reminded me so much of Holland and at the same time produced much more to my interest. This book could now be taken to be a historical text for a lazy American (if this term is not too much redundant). Much history of Holland is laid out, some as a field trip through the countryside. This is not a challenging read but I bet that the orignal target audience of young folks will hardly touch it these days though the book is still to be found in the juvenile sec ...more
Mary Mapes Dodge tried to make a Holland sandwich with this book, and in my opinion, it's a culinary failure. Wanting to educate American children in the 1800's about life in Holland, she wrote a part fiction, part non fiction account of village children living near Amsterdam. Then she shoved it in the middle of a story about Hans Brinker and his troubled family, and added in some extra non fiction for good measure. This really spoiled the book for me. I liked Hans and his family, but I was frus ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Shiloah just keeps finding books that I should have rated on here years ago. I love this book because of the memories as much as the content. My grandma read this to me a couple of times when I was a child and I do so cherish that memory.
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Една от любимите ми детски книги. Чела съм я безброй пъти! Заради нея ми купиха кънки за лед и цяла зима ходех в неделя да се пързалям:-)).
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sad book, and an uplifting book at the same time. Well worth your time to read.
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, children
2.5 stars
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book is about a boy named Hans Brinker, age 15, and his sister, Gretel, age 12, live in Holland in the mid-1800s. Ten years before this, their father, Raff, suffered an injury that left him hurt and useless. The children and their mother have lived in poverty ever since. They know Raff buried a big pile of mula, but he's was unable to tell them where it is. Raff also left a pricy watch with Dame Brinker just before his injury, making her promise to keep it safe. She doesn't know the point o
Thom Swennes
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing but misinformation can be catastrophic. This book was written for youthful readers and has been a favorite tale for many years. Starting in the year 1872 (exactly 100 years prior to my moving to Holland) the story tries to combine the social life and historic heritage of the Low Countries with a fictitious story of the Brinker family. I can still remember the pictures this tale painted in my impressionable youthful mind the first time I read it fifty y ...more
would only be tolerable if abridged. I liked the story of Hans and his little family, their tragedy and their determination to get through it. But then somehow we got this group of young boys who were allowed to spend a winter holiday unsupervised with plenty of money skating all over Amsterdam, having various adventures, and delivering long tedious lessons about Dutch life and history and culture to the token English boy who makes all this slightly plausible. I SOOOOOOO didn't care. If want to ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is written as a children's book, but it is for children who are serious readers! The action is a bit milder than we so often see today. The only magic is that of human compassion, the life-or-death drama is that of an ill parent, the fabulous wealth is only that of the loss of the family's savings. Of course, the great prize is the silver skates. Every chapter is packed with history. The writing style is somewhat dated, but the characters are well-drawn.

Fun to go back and read as an adult,
Apr 29, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, librivox
Wouldn't read it again nor would I read it to a child. If I wanted to have some history of Holland based on stories from certain times in history, this would be great. Otherwise, the story is in parts too much history that is dated, too much kids being super nice to other kids, and tragedy becoming unrealistic miracles all in one story. Normally, I can consider the original context and appreciate the story for what it was intended to be. This was just over the top hokey for me.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit
I was trolling my way through this one when my dog graciously destroyed it. He picked the right book at least. I could not get into this one at least when I was a teenager. I might try it again if someone convinces me that should waste the last few precious moments of my life reading bland descriptions of Holland's landscape.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book. The story of Hans Brinker itself is fine. What I detested was the break from the main story to follow a group of boys with too much time on their hands exploring Amsterdam and pointing out "fun facts" of art and history. Not incredibly well-written either.
Vanessa Dicesare
I really enjoyed this story. It brought back childhood memories of my mom reading this to me on Saturday mornings in her bed. It is a disjointed story as the author adds facts about Holland, but still well worth the effort.
Rogue-van (the Bookman)
Like Dickens, Mary Mapes Dodge tells a story about children trying to survive. Hans and Gretel's father is not in his right mind and cannot work. Although the chatty style and Dutch history lessons detract, the story is very moving when it gets back on track with Hans' quests.
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story! I love that it emphasizes virtue and uses a higher vocabulary than you typically see in popular children's books. I will be sending this book to my 13-year-old niece to read. And then I will plan a trip to Holland because it sounds lovely.
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those are memory stars. I read this over and over when I was a kid. Have no idea how many stars I'd give it now.
It's very difficult for me to say which book was (or is) my particular favourite at any given time, because I tend to have more than one book that I keep reading again and again. Silver Skates was one of those books that I kept reading all over again when I was about 8 to 10 years old, because I was completely mesmerised by the world of ice skating and the Netherlands. (To be honest, back then I was quite convinced that the entire country of Netherlands looks like Venice ...)

It had been quite a
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a copy of this book that was my grandparents,' and it's been on my list to read for a long time since it's a book that takes place in Holland, where many of my ancestors are from. I finally started reading it when I visited Holland in September of this year. It took me several months to get through it, and I had to wade through a lot of the details of the boys' skating trip across Holland, but I adored the characters and loved the rest of the story. Reading a story that takes place in Hol ...more
A wholesome story with many characters. Lots of details about Dutch life in mid 1800's.

Two stories in one, with the middle section give great detail about school boys' skating trip to the city to see museums. A little slow and detail dumps, but worth it in the end.

The story of Hans, and the Brinker's and is really good and includes a pretty awesome plot twist.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Blue Willow
  • The Tanglewoods' Secret
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
  • The Bird's Christmas Carol
  • The Story of Rolf & the Viking Bow
  • Cotton In My Sack
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy
  • Captains Courageous
  • Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
  • Brighty of the Grand Canyon
  • Understood Betsy
  • The Good Master
  • The Wheel on the School
  • Lad: A Dog
  • Roller Skates
  • The Little Lame Prince
  • The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, or The Roly-Poly Pudding
  • Adam of the Road
Mary was born Mary Elizabeth Mapes to Prof. James Jay Mapes and Sophia Furman in New York City. She acquired a good education under private tutors. In 1851 she married the lawyer William Dodge. Within the next four years she gave birth to two sons, James and Harrington. In 1857, William faced serious financial difficulties and left his family in 1858. A month after his disappearance his body was f ...more
More about Mary Mapes Dodge...

Fiction Deals

  • War Brides
    $3.99 $2
  • Bluebeard
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Orphan Train Girl
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Want Not
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Finding Rebecca
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Everybody's Son
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $2
  • The Word Game
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cats Are Weird: And More Observations
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $2
  • The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ask the Dust
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Saving Abby
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vanessa and Her Sister
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The King's Mistress
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Sun (The Northern Lights Series, No 3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan Series Book 2)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Cove
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Jailbird
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fire by Night
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The High Mountains of Portugal
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Cat's Pajamas: Stories
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Thistle and the Rose (Tudor Saga, #8)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Burgess Boys
    $12.99 $1.99
  • News of the World
    $11.49 $2.99
  • The Fireman
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Atomic City Girls
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Skinny Legs and All
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Waiting for Morning (Forever Faithful, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Paris Wife
    $11.99 $2.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Was Your Girl
    $9.99 $2.99
“a half-dollar's worth will sometimes do for the poor what hundreds of dollars may fail to do for the rich; it makes them happy and grateful,” 0 likes
More quotes…