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 excite them and fire their dreams. Hans's father is sick and amnesiac because of a fall from a dike and cannot work. Mrs. Brinker, Hans, and Gretel must work to support the family and are looked down upon in the community because of their low income and poor status.