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Hans Brinker, or The S...
Mary Mapes Dodge
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Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  12,143 Ratings  ·  303 Reviews
Novel that tells the story of the Brinker's family, poor due to an accident suffered by their father. In a small village not far from Amsterdam develops the story of the young Hans and his sister Gretel, willing to do anything to bring back the peace in the Brinker's house, maybe winning the silver shoes up for grabs for the running race that year.
Published May 6th 1986 by Signet Classics (first published 1865)
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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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Shelves: everything_but
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,
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
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.
Recensione completa su Café Littéraire

Mary Mapes Dodge in queste pagine ci racconta una storia in cui i protagonisti sono un gruppo di ragazzini.
È attorno alle loro vicende che scorre la storia.
Hans, Gretel e la loro sfortunata famiglia, colpita dieci anni prima da una disgrazia che li ha portati alla misera condizione in cui stentano a vivere e all'isolamento.
Trattati da reietti pur non avendo nessuna colpa.
Hilda, Peter, Lambert e i loro amici, tutti più o meno benestanti, si districano tra la
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates when I was a child and loved the wonderful story. Hans comes from a poor family, his father is terribly ill, and he, his mother, and his sister Gretel all must work hard to support themselves. Hans' dream is to win a skating race on the Grand Canal because the prize is a pair of silver skates. He has only wooden skates, which gives him no chance to win the race. He is saving money to buy a pair of steel skates to have some hope of winning. Well, I'm sure ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, homeschool
I read this to audition a book for my grandson's homeschool literature lesson. As I child, I loved this book, although I probably got lost in the chapters where boys from the town skate to Haarlem and go to the museums and churches. I found this to be a plus for homeschool lessons since I was able to find many of these places and works of art on the internet which I can also use for lessons.

Hans and his sister, Gretel, are very poor. Their father, a sluice gate tender, was injured on the job and
Nov 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016reviews
What did I think of Hans Brinker, or, The Silver Skates? What did I REALLY think? It was something, that's for sure. At times I felt it was going in too many different directions to be a solidly-good read.

There is the Brinker family drama. Hans and Gretel are brother-and-sister in a desperately poor family. Their father has had a brain injury for a little over ten years, and, he is getting worse, beginning to suffer more, and lash out more in his madness. Hans wants to seek out a famous surgeon
Tom White
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone 10 and up
Recommended to Tom by: N
I would hesitate to call this book a children's book. Young people's book, yes, but a story that has a father recovering from a ten-year illness by means of what amounts to brain surgery cannot be classified as a children's book.

The language, being stilted in the idiom of the mid-1850s, is a little difficult, but is overcome by a story that is immensely valuable as a survey of the geography, manners, customs, and history of Holland from the mid-19th century perspective. One actually gets a feel
Ashley Perham
This is one of those books that when you go back to it it's like an old friend that reminisces with you. This book gave me so many ideas, dreams and mental images!! The main dreams being to go to Holland and learn Dutch!

Basically the story is about Hans and Gretel's (Isn't that a fairy tale?) struggles because their dad is basically insane because of an accident. Throw in a skating race, a watch, a treasure hunt, and a "frolic" to the Hague, and there you go!

This book takes a looong detour from
Desiring to introduce my kids to a variety of literary styles and language, I have pressed on despite the uninspiring beginning, and in fact we all became quite interested once the story of Hans and Gretel and their unfortunate family got underway -- why, it looked like it was shaping up to be a right jolly mystery, with missing gold, enigmatic admonitions, and a tragic "accident" (or was it?) -- my my! Pages turned! From the frozen canal, the children hear their mother scream and rush home! Wha ...more
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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
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