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Book Title: Pattini d'argento|
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 6.1
The author of the book: Mary Mapes Dodge
Date of issue: January 9th 2009
ISBN 13: 9788817029605
Read full description of the books:
Luxuries unfit us for returning to hardships easily endured before.
That is one of the little gems which pop up throughout this classic book of children's literature. Published in 1865, it was second only to Dickens that year in sales. Written by an American who had never been to the Netherlands before the book was written, it has, apparently, been a much-loved book handed down through the generations. Although I come from Flemish/Dutch ancestry, this book was unknown in my family, perhaps because it is truly an American invention. Indeed, it even contains the story of the Little Boy And The Dike (not Hans Brinker), which is also a pure American legend attributed to the Dutch. Strange.
Hans is a very poor boy who lives with his mother and little sister in a run-down hovel. They used to have a middle class life with a healthy father, but he fell off a dike and hurt his head. Comatose, he is of no use to the family who must rely on poor Hans for any income he can provide. The Silver Skates are the prize to be rewarded to the fastest boy and girl in the Dutch speed races on the frozen canals. Hans really wants those skates, but his love of family comes first.
Although Hans Brinker is the title character, much of the book is given to the journey of a group of local well-to-do boys who skate through the towns, providing a narrative of the various Dutch museums, Dutch traditions, and Dutch food for the reader. It all eventually comes back to the little poor family and the quest for a happy ending.
I really enjoyed reading this book and its various descriptions.
...we Americans, who after all are homeopathic preparations of Holland stock...
The Dutch have always been forced to pump for their very existence and probably must continue to do so to the end of time.
The frightening possibility of being flooded in the middle of the night is never forgotten here, as the tragic floods of the past are mentioned. There's also the tale of the Rasphouse, which was a cell for lazy prisoners. Into this tiny space would pour a steady stream of water and the prisoner would have to pump constantly to keep himself from drowning. Very interesting.
Mostly, I loved the family spirit and the steady get-through-the-day background which also permeated my own parents. 'Little and often soon fills the pouch' was a motto for my mother, that is, don't get seduced by the fast American lifestyle, just live the simple life and save for the future. I like that. My klompen still go out every December 6th, albeit with Flemish, not Dutch, tokens.
As Samuel Butler versed,
A land that rides at anchor, and is moor'd
In which they do not live, but go aboard.
Book Season = Winter (frozen waterways)
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Read information about the authorMary was born Mary Elizabeth Mapes to Prof. James Jay Mapes and Sophia Furman in New York City. She acquired a good education under private tutors. In 1851 she married the lawyer William Dodge. Within the next four years she gave birth to two sons, James and Harrington. In 1857, William faced serious financial difficulties and left his family in 1858. A month after his disappearance his body was found dead from an apparent drowning, and Mary Mapes Dodge became a widow.
In 1859 she began writing and editing, working with her father to publish two magazines, the Working Farmer and the United States Journal. Within a few years she had great success with a collection of short stories, The Irvington Stories (1864), and a novel was solicited. Dodge then wrote Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, which became an instant bestseller.
Later in life she was an associate editor of Hearth and Home, edited by Harriet Beecher Stowe. She had charge of the household and children's departments of that paper for many years. She became an editor in her own right with the children's St. Nicholas Magazine, for she was able to solicit stories from a number of well-known writers including Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. St. Nicholas became one of the most successful magazines for children during the second half of the nineteenth century, with a circulation of almost 70,000 children.
Dodge died at her summer cottage in Tannersville, New York, in 1905. She is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, at 1137 North Broad Street, Hillside, New Jersey.
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