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The Wheel on the School

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  8,039 ratings  ·  346 reviews

Why do the storks no longer come to the little Dutch fishing village of Shora to nest? It was Lina, one of the six schoolchildren who first asked the question, and she set the others to wondering. And sometimes when you begin to wonder, you begin to make things happen. So the children set out to bring the storks back to Shora. The force of their vision put the whole villag

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Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 5th 1972 by HarperCollins (first published December 12th 1936)
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The Most Deserving Newbery
51st out of 106 books — 2,335 voters
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Forgotten Kids Books of Quality
30th out of 399 books — 149 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lauren Smith
I adore this book. It’s like coming up for a breath of fresh air after being stuck underwater. I think that each and every one of us could use a break of this kind. In this busy, busy world we live in we never take a second to smell the roses. We’re too busy worrying about our cars, our relatively slow internet, getting into college, broken iPods, going on dates, the latest fashion in clothes, being accepted… And here is a group of school kids who are worried about whether or not storks come to ...more
Ariel
Sep 18, 2009 Ariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: mg
I remember reading and loving this Newbery award-winner from Holland about children in a tiny fishing village on the Dutch coastline and it's still great. Their teacher encourages them to figure out why there are no lucky storks living on the roofs of their village (unlike the surrounding towns) and work together to remedy the situation. They wind up befriending adults, most notably the formerly surly and isolated double amputee Janus, who performs feats of strength with his powerful arms. The w ...more
Joann
The beauty of these older Newberry winners is their innocent simplicity. The story was simple- children in a small town trying to entice storks to nest on the roof of their school. It really didn't stray much from that. It was, I felt, a refreshing break from the adolescent drama so common to the more recent Newberry winners. I really enjoyed the characters particularly the elderly poeple that the children came to know and love. This was a beautiful, unassuming story that I enjoyed very much.
Gail Levine
Loved this book! It's charming and original, and the surprises keep coming. DeJong uses everything to keep up the tension: the main characters, the entire village, an itinerant tinsmith, the weather, geography - he's ingenious. And the little brush-and-ink illustrations by Maurice Sendak are marvelous!
Anna
I love kids books where the dialogue is realistic, and the characters of the grown-ups are also realistic. It's not contrived, it's not "goody goody" adults, it's REAL people. This story of the little schoolchildren in the Dutch town of Shora is so endearing. They put forth so much effort to get a wheel on the school so the storks can come. There are such lessons to be learned here: people aren't always what they seem (Old legless Janus isn't really a mean man), and the value of hard work and wo ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Sadly, Meindert DeJong's books are impossible to find where I live. I have a battered secondhand copy of this one that I read periodically. I love the way DeJong handles language, such as when Lina thinks of coming out with a clever answer at school and the boys in her class "sitting there with their mouths full of teeth." I love the way he gets into the minds of small children and remembers how they think and feel about things. Things that to an adult are "little" or "unimportant" can be huge t ...more
Reem
اول نجمة او درجة خسرتها الرواية او القصة انها مكانتش بالدرجة اللي تخليني اخلصها بسرعة ،
غير كده القصة مقبولة كتقييم !
قصة اطفال يب بس طويلة ع اطفال ده من ناحية و من ناحية تانية يمكن ملهاش غير هدف او هدفين من ال300 و شويه صفحة !
تقييم عام ع القصة مقبولة ، لا بأس بها !
و مش محتاجه تفكير كتير
=)
Nora
MCL. I thought I wouldn't like it, but then I did.
Stacey
I adore this book. I never heard of it until I saw it at the bookshelf at my local library. Something drew me to it and I read the summary. Why do I want to read about six schoolchildren from Holland? How did Lina influenced her whole community about trying to get storks to live in her town? Anyway, I checked it out. After reading this book, I can see the depth of the characters, the actions, and suspense. Each child in the book reminds me of real children that I care for and my peers and myself ...more
Emily
It all starts when Lina brings an essay she has written about storks to school. She carefully reads it aloud, wondering to her fellow students about the lack of storks in their seaside Holland town. Discussion spurred by her essay by students and teacher alike causes Teacher to cancel school for the rest of the day – so his students can wonder about the stork problem. Lina gets to wandering and wondering, thinking like the storks to figure out how to lure them to Shora’s rooftops.

In school the
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Christina
This is a darling story about a group of children living in a tiny Holland village trying to encourage storks to settle in their town. The story is very simple, but had a few deep moments (like watching Janus's transformation).

I probably would have given it just 3 stars except for one thing. Near the beginning, the children divide up and go on a 'quest'. We hear about the same afternoon from each of their points of view. I enjoyed how those 5 stories were interconnected and came together at the
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Stacy268
This is the charming tale of a small town in Holland where a seed planted by a school teacher brings the entire town together.

Lina, the only girl in school, writes an essay about storks and gets her class thinking. "Do you know about storks?", Lina asks. The teacher encourages the children to wonder about why the storks do not build their nests in the small fishing town of Shora while one town over in Nes, the storks arrive every year.

Little by little the children come to the conclusions that th
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Antof9
Love, love, loved this book! I'd read his "Journey to Peppermint Street" a million years ago, and the illustrator Maurice Sendak recently passed away, so it seemed fitting to read this one recently, even though I'm ... two? behind the Newbery group.

Anyway, I loved it. At some point near the end, I couldn't believe how much I was enjoying a book about storks, of all things! The way this town was described reminds me quite a bit of the town my dad is from. It's on the Northern corner of Holland, a
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Ben
A welcome breath of fresh air, peace and simplicity in this tale of Dutch children by the sea that provides a view into another world. The excitement that carries throughout the book as everyone is stirred up on the quest for storks makes this an engaging story...a wonderful change of pace.
Madison
I haven't read this one in a while, but I read it quite a number of times growing up. I remember it being rather slow in parts, a bit superstitious in regards to the storks being good luck, but an all over good story.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
This is truly an odd story. A village in Holland is sad because no storks come to nest in their town. The children and their teacher decide to change things by making a project of it; they will find an old wagon wheel and put it on top of the school for storks to nest in.

Pretty soon, the whole town is involved in the project. Everyone is out looking for wagon wheels. Everyone is figuring out how to put the wheel on the school. Everyone is helping put the wagon wheel on the roof of the school. Th
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Emily
I was thoroughly charmed by this 1955 Newbery winner. The fishing village of Shora in Holland has only 6 children in their school. One of them writes a report one day on storks, and how the storks no longer stay in Shora. It becomes a school project to get the storks to nest in Shora. First, a wheel must be found, to be placed on the roof of the school so the storks can build their nests without sliding off the roof. Little by little, everyone in town becomes involved in getting the storks to Sh ...more
Sarah
Dec 08, 2012 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
A friend was just asking for recommendations for a book for her just-turned-11 daughter, and I thought I'd send her to goodreads to read my recommendation for this book. Imagine my surprise when one of my favorite books was not on my list!
The Wheel on the School is a wonderful book about things being made right. When a child asks a question, the teacher pushes her - and the whole class - to find answers. As they begin to imagine answers, they begin to see their own community with new eyes, and
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Krissy
I liked how the impossible happened in this book. School children and their town made a dream come true. ~Caleb
Emmie
I had so much fun reading this to my kids as one of their Read-Alouds this year for school. It is a very well written story about 5 children in a fishing town in Netherlands who begin asking questions, wanting to know about storks and why they never come to Shora. As the kids continue to wonder about these things, this town that is small and does the same thing day in and day out begins to come alive. Connections are made, relationships built and daring deeds are done in order to do what it take ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Jul 20, 2014 Nicola Mansfield rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: be read aloud to all ages
This is a re-read for me. The first time I read it aloud to my eldest about 15 years ago and we both loved it so much. I went on to read several more of the author's books after that, also enjoying them. I was looking forward to this re-read. I was a little disappointed as the story was much slower than I had remembered and at first I actually thought it was boring. So it did take me some time to get into it this time, though I hardly remembered the story except the basic plot. I did find my gro ...more
Jane Williams
Re-reading books from my childhood again, this time because my mum found it lurking - same copy I'd read forty-odd years ago.
It's a charming book, set in some time vaguely in the past, when the fastest means of transport was a horse and cart. There's no nastiness, no swearing, the children are properly respectful of their elders, it's all very nostalgic. That's not to say that they're Mary-Sue perfect, they're not - they run off and play when they should be working, they make the mistakes you mi
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Erica
This is an excellent choice to read aloud to children in the range of 4 to 9 years. It is a slow-moving story, perfect for bed-time & quiet-time with a parent, especially in a family where observation of nature & people, attentive focus on one's own projects, and respect for the various developmental stages of childhood are embraced.

This bold young boy commits a revolutionary act - he keeps asking questions, even after each adult he asks feels they have given him a complete & satisf
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Laurie
I didn't expect to like this book -- but it surprised me. The subject didn't impress me, even knowing it was a children's book so the subject would be more interesting to the younger crowd, but realizing that it was a book written before the real rise of children/young adult literature (and somehow it wound up in my possession), I decided I had to try it out at least. And when I do that, I hate not finishing the book in question.

Right now we are hearing about the need for books written about pe
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Benji Martin
It seems like I've crossed some kind of threshold. The Newbery winners in the 1950's seem to be getting better, less painful to read.

I really enjoyed this one. I like how the story started with a question. "Why don't Storks visit our town like they do other towns?" The students thought about it and came up with a hypothesis. This hypothesis led to a plan, and that plan became an obsession. The obsession spread from the students and kind of took over the town and everyone untied for a cause. Gro
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Kristy
A refreshing change of pace for middle school children - or younger - or older. A teacher in charge of a grand total of six children in a Dutch town mentors them in the lessons of "if it is impossible, it's possible," and "start something - it may lead somewhere." The children decide to do whatever it takes to fulfill their dream of bringing storks back to their little fishing town. Boy, do they do whatever it takes! And boy, does it lead somewhere!
Cat King
The Wheel on the School is a lovely, old-fashioned book for young children. Suitable for patient, quiet children, or those with a budding interest in social activism and environmental welfare.

The protagonists of "The Wheel on the School" are very young, and the book's steady pace frames an introduction to critical thinking, to looking at a problem from all angles (literally!), to instigate creative solutions.

What I found really enjoyable was that the book follows the very young protagonists th
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Kathi
Notes
--Really liked it!
--Simple
--Quiet, quaint—a little odd, about luring storks to nest in their village—but speaks volumes about many themes
--Maurice Sendak—awesome illustrations
--strong, defined characters: six-child class--one girl, Lina, five boys, each an individual, supportive of each other; oldest Grandmother Sibble III, very cool, and Grandpa Douwa—93, takes huge walks daily (role models for aging, even though written in 1954; Janus, paraplegic, grows in reality and reputation
--De Jong:
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Melissa
A very earnest book about a project - to bring nesting storks back to the Dutch village of Shora - that brings the entire village together. Very fun. One of my earlier comments was that it felt like The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew - it does! It have a very honest, can-do attitude and tells such charming stories about the children of Shora.
Maria
Some great parts, some really boring parts. You can tell it was written in the 50s, as the gender roles are pretty firmly in place. The few times the one girl in the group does anything adventurous, a big deal is made of the fact that she's breaking out of the mold.
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Meindert De Jong(4 March 1906 – 16 July 1991) was an award-winning author of children's books. He was born in the village of Wierum, of the province of Friesland, in the Netherlands.

De Jong immigrated to the United States with his family in 1914. He attended Dutch Calvinist secondary schools and Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and entered the University of Chicago, but left without grad
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More about Meindert DeJong...
The House of Sixty Fathers Along Came a Dog Hurry Home, Candy Shadrach Journey from Peppermint Street

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