'Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates'

'Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates'
by Mary Mapes Dodge
illustrated by Edna Cook

Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates 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  
silverskates 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:

In Holland, poor-but-industrious and honorable 15-year-old Hans Brinker 
and his younger sister Gretel, yearn to participate in December's great ice-skating 
race on the canal. They have little chance of doing well on their handmade 
wooden skates, but the prospect of the race and the prize of the 
Silver Skates excites them and fires their dreams....

Read it here: Gutenberg eBook