"Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates"


Book: Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates

Author: Mary Mapes Dodge

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates LLC, republished in 1993

ISBN-13: 9780812533422

ISBN-10: 0812533429

Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)

Reading level: Ages 10-15

Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Dodge, Mary Mapes. Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates (originally published in 1865; republished in 1993 by Tor Classics, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates LLC). My first introduction to this book was a VERY condensed version of this book (a “young people’s edition”) from my childhood which I read aloud to our younger son Jeremy many years ago, but afterwards I found an unabridged edition and then read it to the boys. Dodge helped to alter the kinds of books being written for children from purely moralistic stories to those that were intended to be “fun” to read. This does not mean that Hans Brinker teaches no lessons. It emphasizes hard work, patience, loyalty, compassion. The children are obviously intended to be examples, some for good and some for bad; yet, they are not plaster saints but children with a sense of humor and a need to grow. The book does have the characteristic of stopping the story from time to time to launch into various descriptions, but in the process there is a lot of information about Holland of the mid 1800s and its history. There are references to smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol; although they were undoubtedly a part of Dutch life of that era and are not over emphasized, I usually just omitted them in reading aloud. While the Brinkers are good Protestants, there is mention made of praying to saints. However, all in all, I found it to be a very enjoyable story.

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