Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, or the Book I Can't Remember How Many Times I've Read

Have fun figuring out whose leg is whose!
I read this book for Lois's Birthday Challenge.

I don't really know how many times I've read this book, nor do I remember the first time I read it. I think this was my fourth time reading it, but it could have been my third?

This book belonged to my mom (Jenny Rosser is written in crayon on the detached cover {strange cuz my mom hates being called Jenny?}). 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 the story to travel with a group of secondary characters through Holland. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the book because of all the tidbits it gives into the history and geography of Holland! Also, the whole of Chapter 2 is committed to random geography and history snippets. I liked this, but if you don't like detours, you might want to skip it.

The main story progresses rather rapidly, especially nearing the end. However, once you get to the skating race, possibly the point of the whole book, the pace slows waaaaay down, or maybe it was me getting irritated for not remembering who won the race?

Hans is a great main character, strong, noble, brave, etc. He is almost too perfect! However at times, somehow he seems human again! The title of favorite female character goes to Gretel Annie Bouman! She brings sunshine to every place she goes! (There's nothing wrong with Gretel, but she's kinda boring?) I also like Jacob Poot and Penchamin Dopps (Benjamin Dobbs), his English cousin who helps explain Holland through a foreigner's eyes. Voostenwalbert Schimmelpennick is another favorite because of the name :D Mrs. Brinker is just annoying though..

Another thing that annoys me about this book is the end! I actually love the conclusion, but could you at least introduce the character Gretel marries!!!

But anyway, this is a great book! If you read it for the first time now, you might not think so, but if you enjoyed it as a child, you'll enjoy it again!


  1. Oh! This looks SO sweet. Haha, you wanted to learn Dutch. :-) It's not that special, I assure you. :-P

  2. Awww this is so cute and sweet! I have many old, obscure books of my childhood that will always have a special place in my heart. This book looks absolutely darling! And Holland sounds fantastic! Maybe I should check it out...?

  3. This book is so cute and the review suits it perfectly!! My grandparents have a copy of it in their basement, which is how I read it for the first time. My grandma gets really excited about it (especially the historical parts, because she was born in Holland.) I haven't read it in a while...maybe it's time to pick it up again!

  4. I haven't read this for years, but I probably have read it three times, possibly four. My mom is 100% Dutch, so this and books like "The Wheel on the School" were... not exactly required reading in my family, but definitely very encouraged, hee :-)

  5. Naomi: Thanks! I still want to learn Dutch, mostly because it looks similar to English. My favorite word is varkensvlees, which means pork or beef, I think?

    Hannah: I love revisiting old childhood books!

    Olivia: Thanks! Your grandma was born in Holland! That's so cool!

    Hamlette: I think I've read "The Wheel on the School" too. Can you speak any Dutch?

    1. I can speak a few words, but not spell most of them. The ones I can spell are "wasdag" (wash day), "schaatzen" (skaters), and "mollen" (mill). It's very similar to German, which I took in college and still know a bit. (I'm half German too.)

  6. I have to read this book. Chapter 2 sounds like a lot of fun to read, and I like reading detours from the story because for me it adds another depth to the story.

  7. I read this years ago and I remember liking it but not terribly much else. Someday I will have to re-read it. Your review brings back good memories. :)


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