Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates

Mary Mapes DODGE (1831 - 1905)

Mary Mapes Dodge created an instant bestseller with "Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates." She wanted the book to be partly a book of travels and partly a domestic story. It is a tale written for children that adults also find interesting and uplifting. Dodge writes as if she is sending a series of letters from Holland to children in America, and her you-are-there perspective is aided by a nice attention to detail and vivid imagery.

The Brinkers are a poor but stoic family under a dark cloud - Raff, the man of the house, fell from the dikes while reinforcing them during a bad storm, and for ten years he has been in a vegetative state. With no steady income, the family's lot is grinding poverty. Despite their unfortunate circumstances, Hans and Gretel are cheerful children, yet always attentive to the needs of their mother and their present-but-not-really-there father. Their social standing is very low, but they both attract firm friends, even among the gentry, for their honesty, industry, and good-heartedness.

Then a glorious skating race is proposed for the town of Broek, with the prize a pair of silver skates for both the winning boy and girl. In the weeks leading up to the race, we follow the adventures of five of the local boys who are showing a visiting relative from England the sights of the Netherlands. Hans improbably meets the one man who might be able to heal his father, and somehow Hans finds a way to afford some skates so that he and Gretel can enter the race.

This all leads up to a dramatic, moving, and entirely satisfactory conclusion. "Hans Brinker" hits a series of high notes and encourages children to cultivate and display their finer qualities.

Genre(s): Children's Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Preface/A Letter from Holland Mark F. Smith
00:07:38
Play 01 Hans and Gretel Mark F. Smith
00:09:15
Play 02 Holland Mark F. Smith
00:19:09
Play 03 The Silver Skates Mark F. Smith
00:10:44
Play 04 Hans and Gretel Find a Friend Mark F. Smith
00:13:46
Play 05 Shadows in the Home Mark F. Smith
00:14:36
Play 06 Sunbeams Mark F. Smith
00:09:07
Play 07 Hans Has His Way Mark F. Smith
00:08:07
Play 08 Introducing Jacob Poot and His Cousin Mark F. Smith
00:11:51
Play 09 The Festival of Saint Nicholas Mark F. Smith
00:18:14
Play 10 What the Boys Saw and Did in Amsterdam Mark F. Smith
00:19:24
Play 11 Big Manias and Little Oddities Mark F. Smith
00:16:31
Play 12 On the Way to Haarlem Mark F. Smith
00:07:29
Play 13 A Catastrophe Mark F. Smith
00:07:22
Play 14 Hans Mark F. Smith
00:11:08
Play 15 Homes Mark F. Smith
00:14:36
Play 16 Haarlem--The Boys Hear Voices Mark F. Smith
00:12:09
Play 17 The Man With Four Heads Mark F. Smith
00:10:15
Play 18 Friends in Need Mark F. Smith
00:14:39
Play 19 On the Canal Mark F. Smith
00:12:57
Play 20 Jacob Poot Changes the Plan Mark F. Smith
00:14:15
Play 21 Mynheer Kleef and His Bill of Fare Mark F. Smith
00:05:57
Play 22 The Red Lion Becomes Dangerous Mark F. Smith
00:23:27
Play 23 Before the Court Mark F. Smith
00:06:45
Play 24 The Beleaguered Cities Mark F. Smith
00:11:51
Play 25 Leyden Mark F. Smith
00:11:59
Play 26 The Palace in the Wood Mark F. Smith
00:06:10
Play 27 The Merchant Prince and the Sister-Princess Mark F. Smith
00:25:29
Play 28 Through the Hague Mark F. Smith
00:14:49
Play 29 A Day of Rest /Homeward Bound Mark F. Smith
00:13:02
Play 30 Boys and Girls Mark F. Smith
00:11:12
Play 31 The Crisis Mark F. Smith
00:13:15
Play 32 Gretel and Hilda Mark F. Smith
00:13:19
Play 33 The Awakening Mark F. Smith
00:06:43
Play 34 Bones and Tongues Mark F. Smith
00:06:51
Play 35 A New Alarm Mark F. Smith
00:09:12
Play 36 The Father's Return Mark F. Smith
00:09:17
Play 37 The Thousand Guilders Mark F. Smith
00:10:16
Play 38 Glimpses Mark F. Smith
00:07:34
Play 39 Looking for Work Mark F. Smith
00:10:09
Play 40 The Fairy Godmother Mark F. Smith
00:11:01
Play 41 The Mysterious Watch Mark F. Smith
00:16:37
Play 42 A Discovery Mark F. Smith
00:16:46
Play 43 The Race Mark F. Smith
00:33:17
Play 44 Joy in the Cottage Mark F. Smith
00:15:54
Play 45 Mysterious Disappearance of Thomas Higgs Mark F. Smith
00:05:38
Play 46 Broad Sunshine Mark F. Smith
00:10:37
Play 47 Conclusion Mark F. Smith
00:06:57