Has Brinker or The Silver Skates Author:Mary Mapes Dodge As the title suggests, this story has a double plot. One strand of the action deals with Hans and Gretel living in poverty with their self-scrificing mother and their sick father, while the characters of the other plot are the boisterous children of the well-to-do. To most of these children, at the beginning of the story, Hans and Gretel are not... more »hing but the ragpickers-the idiot's children. The reader accompanies the boys on their expeditions to Haarlem, Leyden, andThe Hague, watches the gradual diminishing of the gulf between them and the young Brinkers, and shares with them all the great suspense which leads up to the plot's physical climax in the match for a pair of silver skates.
It is probably no exaggeration, however, to say that for the more mature of Mrs. Dodge's young readers the main interest of the story lies in the character of Hans. Capable although not brilliant, Hans is deliberately presented as an average sort of boy. Although never rising to anything spectacularly heroic, Hans-resourceful and unfailingly cheerful-faces life with the unassuming courage and fortitude which finally makes him instrumental in restoring the happiness and fortunes of the Brinker family.« less