★★★★★ "Hans Brinker" or the Silver Skates - Mary Mapes Dodge ★★★★★
About Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates - Mary Mapes Dodge:
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates (full title: Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland) is a novel by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865. The novel takes place in the Netherlands, and is a colorful fictional portrait of early nineteenth-century Dutch life, as well as a tale of youthful honor.
The title of the book refers to the beautiful silver skates to be awarded to winner of the ice-skating race Hans Brinker hopes to enter. The novel introduced the sport of Dutch speed skating to Americans, and in U.S. media Hans Brinker is still considered the prototypical speed skater.
The book is also notable for popularizing the story of the little Dutch boy who plugs a dike with his finger.
Dodge, who never visited the Netherlands until after the novel was published, wrote the novel at age 34. She was inspired by her reading of John L. Motley's lengthy, multi-volume history works: The Rise of the Dutch Republic, and The History of the United Netherlands. Dodge subsequently did further bibliographical research into the country. She also received much firsthand information about Dutch life from her immigrant Dutch neighbors, the Scharffs, and Dodge noted in her preface to the 1875 edition of the book that the story of Hans Brinker's father was "founded strictly upon fact".
Full of Dutch cultural and historical information, the book became an instant bestseller, outselling all other books in its first year of publication except Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend. The novel has since been continuously in print, most often in multiple editions and formats, and remains a children's classic.
About Mary Mapes Dodge:
Mary Mapes Dodge (January 26, 1831 – August 21, 1905) was an American children's writer and editor, best known for her novel Hans Brinker.
Irvington Stories, Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates, A Few Friends and How They Amused Themselves, Baby Days, Donald and Dorothy, Baby World, The Land of Pluck.
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