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Wheel On The School Paperback – Apr 5 1972

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Middle Grade; First Harper Torch Book Printing edition (April 5 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064400212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064400213
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #165,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-This 1955 Newbery Award-winner by Meindert Dejojng, set in a small Dutch fishing village, tells the story of a young girl and her simple composition about the storks that build their nests in neighboring villages. When the children wonder why the storks don't nest in their village, the stage is set for a dramatic challenge against all odds.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


". . . a happy story, written with the freshness and beauty and understanding of youngsters that make this author's stories unforgettable." -- -- Saturday Review

"Once more Mr. Dejong has written, with literary skill, a heartfelt story." -- -- Commonweal

"The whole thing trembles with impatience and anxiety." -- -- The Times Literary Supplement

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 20 2014
Format: Paperback
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 groove though, and settled down with this old-fashioned story, set in a different time in a different world, pre-WWII Netherlands. This is a sweet story about children and their love for animals, storks in this case. It's a time when children roamed the countryside all day long, unsupervised. The first good chunk of the book sets up the plot and not a lot of events happen, though Dejong is a beautiful writer and we soon feel the sense of this time, this place and these people. Once the hunt for the wheel begins, action enters the story and each individual child has an event happen along the way. Some of these adventures are what we would consider today, well anytime really!, quite dangerous and make for exciting reading. It dramatically contrasts what childhood was like in those bygone days compared to today. Everyone will shake their heads but, some will be with regret, others with thankfulness, that those times have passed. I do think this is a beautifully written story, with a lovely message; a sweet story in a way, but a real one as well, these children are hardly all sugar-and-spice. Unfortunately, I don't think it is a book many modern-day children will have the patience to read themselves and I recommend it be used as a read-aloud. There is so much to discuss! I'm a huge fan of Maurice Sendak but his illustrations in this book are only middle of the road, recognisable as his work certainly but nothing special.
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Format: Hardcover
I discovered this book when I was in fourth grade or thereabouts, quite by accident in the public library. Because it seemed to be about animals (it is about storks, but it's about people even more), I took it home. And it became one of three or four books that I reread every year or two thereafter. I've read it at least three times since I finally bought my own copy as an adult.
Why is it so enchanting? I realized last night as I reread it yet again that The Wheel on the School says effectively in a story what most of today's children's books try to say in cliches and lectures: You are special, and people who are different from you are special too. Why is the message and the book effective? Because each person in the town realizes he or she, or the others in the town, is an important part of the town as the person actually contributes to it. No one is sitting around discussing self-esteem, but, for example, the town's fat boy, who usually gets left out of games, discovers he is strong, and the town's grumpy cripple becomes a leader, as they take part in what has become the town's mission--to bring storks to Shora. The old people emerge with stories and with memories of their own childhood longings and feats, and the adults and children work together. The book represents adults the way children see them (mysterious, sometimes scary, sometimes annoying, but protective, stronger, and wiser than the children), not with today's irreverence or irrelevance and not in a way where they take over the book or the children's project.
The book was a balm to me as a kid, the child who was left out of everything, and who discovered in real life, with Lina, that sometimes old ladies make good friends when children don't. And now as an adult with friends ranging from children to old ladies, I still find the book warm and almost magical.
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By A Customer on Feb. 11 2000
Format: Hardcover
What a thrill it was to "find" this book. I bought it originally on an endorsement from the Chinaberry catalog. Neither the cover nor the title was particularly catchy. It sat on my teacher shelf for a couple of months...and then one rainy day at indoor recess we began reading. The basic story is of a small group of schoolchildren in Holland and their communal efforts to bring storks back to nest on the rooftops of their village. In the process of achieving this dream the story is an intergenerational tale of love and friendship. Finding help and providence in the places you might least expect them. It touched my young listeners deeply. We built a model of the village in our classroom. We compared people in our own lives to the characters in the story and gained new insights. One last strong endorsement...I had my students rank their top three book choices so far this year. The Wheel On The School came out as #1, and yes, Harry Potter was one of the contestants.
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Format: Library Binding
"I think it was incredibly exciting, mostly the whole time." The previous two quotes are from my 7 year old son; his 10 year old brother and I heartily agree. We all got very emotionally involved with the characters, primarily a group of Dutch schoolchildren who were as interesting as children are everywhere who think for themselves. The several prominent adults in the book are finely drawn as well; not flawless, but each living their lives heartily and with conviction. I loved Old Douwa, the 92 year old whose past clasps the present to form a story within a story. The tale begins with one child's question: why are there no storks in our village? With a skillful hand, the author weaves in powerful truths about destiny: how asking a question leads to thinking and dreaming; how following your dreams leads to action; how appropriate (not necessarily conventional!) action can change your reality and that of your community. The lives of the good people of Shora (and a neighboring village) become interwoven and enriched because of the force of the dream of the schoolchildren and their teacher. Subtle line drawings by Maurice Sendak enhance the storyline. It's funny, heartwarming, inspiring, gripping, meaningful....what are you waiting for?
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