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The Boy Who Was Not Hans

December 13, 1987

Kristiana Gregory has seen fit to rewrite "Hans Brinker; or The Silver Skates." Chapter 18 does mention the legend of the boy and the dike, but the story itself has nothing to do with it. The headline was especially misleading.

If The Times sees fit to employ someone so unqualified as to be unfamiliar with classics that form a basic part of our literary heritage, please hire a literate proofreader.

MARGUERITE F. RAYBOULD

Glendale

Editor's Note: The offending sentence in the mentioned review, about which The Times received several other letters, reads: "In 'The Boy Who Held Back the Sea,' (Thomas Locker) solos as artist to Lenny Hort's charming retelling of 'Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates.' " That sentence should have read: ". . . charming retelling of an incident from 'Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates; A Story of Life in Holland.' " Kristiana Gregory did not write the misleading headline.

The incident constitutes something over half of Chapter 18 of Mary Mapes Dodge's famous book, which, as she writes in its preface, "aims to combine the instructive features of a book of travels with the interest of a domestic tale." The copyright page for "The Boy Who Held Back the Sea" reads: "adaption of Hans Brinker; or The Silver Skates."

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