Friday, May 29, 2009

The Wheel on the School


The Wheel on the School, by Meindert DeJong is one of those children's books that I had always heard about, but never read. I expected it to be good--it was the 1955 Newbery award winner after all--but beyond that, I didn't know what to expect.

I sure didn't expect these lines in the first paragraph:

In five of those houses lived the six school children of Shora, so that is important. There were a few more houses, but in those houses lived no children--just old people. There were, well, just old people, so they weren't too important.

My boys, 7th and 4th grade, cracked up at this. They didn't agree, but they thought it was hilarious that an author would say such a thing!

Little did we know, but the rest of the book is about how those unimportant old people became special, indeed, to the school children in the Dutch village of Shora.

I also didn't expect a story about school children and storks to be so full of action and adventure--but it is! Gently so, but enough to keep my boys' attention and enjoyment.

I didn't expect the illustrations either...by Maurice Sendak! Just delightful.

For not expecting much...this story was a winner.

10 comments:

Book Psmith said...

Oh I loved this one. I recently read and reviewed it, and it is easily one of my favorite reads of 2009.

SmallWorld at Home said...

This stands out as one of the best books I ever read to my kids. We loved it!

Heather said...

Sounds great! I always enjoyed reading Sendak's books.

Wonder Woman said...

We loved that book! One of the all-time favorites at our house!!

Jennifer Merck said...

Thanks for the book rec! I just put it on our summer list. Keep the suggestions coming. We love ideas for great reads.

Rosa said...

I remember reading this book back when I was homeschooled. =)

quirkyskittle said...

I know, isn't that book such a pleasant surprise? For a big project in undergrad I ended up reading most of the Newbery Medal books, and that one really struck me. It's so, I don't know, quietly joyful or something.

MomCO3 said...

This is favorite of ours, too-- even with the younger (and therefore important) crowd.=)
Annie

Anonymous said...

We randomly picked it up at the library on CD before we left on a roadtrip. We loved it. A short while later, I accompanied Dan on a business trip to Strasbourg, France where we saw wheels on older buildings. And we saw storks!

Lori C

michelleschaefer said...

This book will be one of my FOREVER favorite memories of reading-aloud to my kids.