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Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates (Cosimo Classics Literature) Paperback – November 1, 2005
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About the Author
This replica edition brings the enchanting work of Dodge and Carsey to a new generation of children. Author and editor MARY MAPES DODGE (1831-1905) was born in New York City. She served as editor of the children's magazine St. Nicholas, to which she attracted such writers as Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Rudyard Kipling. She also authored the short-fiction collection Irvington Stories (1864).
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Like a meal at a four-star restaurant it is delicious, beautiful and nourishing. But a taste for delicious, beautiful and nourishing must be cultivated. I would not serve Mary Mapes Dodge's classic Hans Brinker to a child who has been fed a steady diet of literary Happy Meals. But a boy or girl who has tasted Laura Ingalls Wilder, Robert Louis Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott or Ralph Moody would eat this story up.
The setting, the time period and cultural references are foreign, and thus require some work to read. Published in 1865, the story is set in the Netherlands. Imagine weather so cold that the canals froze. What would American families do? Stay inside and watch TV. In nineteenth century Holland every able bodied person laced on his skates, bundled up and had fun skating!
There are benefits to reading it slowly, using tools such as Google Earth, search engines and maps to explore areas of interest. Rabbit trails abound!
* Were the telescope and microscope invented by the Dutch Jacob Metius and Sacharias Janssen or by the English Roger Bacon?
* A group of boys skate to Leiden and The Hague: look it up!
* Why did the art of curing and pickling herrings revolutionize the economy of Holland?
Any reader with a whiff of curiosity could learn a fair bit about Holland by reading Hans Brinker alone, in concert with other reference tools, or alongside other books like The Wheel on the School. References to art abound; use Hans Brinker as a springboard for studying Dutch artists.
Some favorite quotes:
Never had the sunset appeared more beautiful to Peter than when he saw it exchanging farewell glances with the windows and shining roofs of the city before him.
It is no sin to love beautiful things.
A tamed bird is a sad bird, say what you will.