Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Wheel On the School

     We just finished reading The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong again.  We've read it before, but our younger children didn't remember it and the older ones didn't mind hearing it again.  It all begins when Lina begins to wonder why they don't have storks in their little dutch fishing village.  She writes a little piece about it and the teacher lets her read it aloud and encourages the whole class to begin to wonder why. 
     The first paragraph says, "To start with there was Shora.  Shora was a fishing village in Holland.  It lay on the shore of the North Sea in Friesland, tight against the dike.  Maybe that was why it was called Shora.  It had some houses and a church and tower.  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.  They were, well, just old people, so they weren't too important.  There were more children, too, but young children, toddlers, not school children--so that is not so important either."  As the story continues the whole village becomes important as they all begin to work together to bring storks to Shora. The adventures seem to follow non-stop, but for me, one of the best things is that the adults in the story become "important".  To quote the book, "The boys stood there, wanting to tell Janus things but finding no words to express the amazing surprise inside of them.  Janus had become real; he had become a part of their village.  He wasn't a fearsome ogre to be hated and outwitted.  Even the yard with its forbidding high fence somehow looked different now.  Lina could have told Pier and Dirk what it was.  Lina would have said that it was just that Janus had become important in the same way that old Grandmother Sibble III had become real and important.  He had become a friend!"

This is only one of several wonderful books we've read by Meindert DeJong.  If you haven't tried this author yet, I highly recommend this book by him.

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