I have very fond childhood memories of my parents reading chapter books aloud to me and my siblings. One of the earliest read-aloud books I vaguely remember was The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong. After finishing our last read-aloud book, we decided to take a break from the Little House series and read something different. My mom loaned us her copy of The Wheel on the School a few months back and I just started reading it to the family. The kids are enthralled. My wife is riveted. I don’t remember much about this book other than the pictures, so I’m enjoying it immensely as well.
The story is about a group of young Dutch schoolchildren who are scheming up a way to bring storks to their tiny village. It seems like an insurmountable problem for them, but their teacher encourages them to wonder and to look in impossible places:
“We can’t think much when we don’t know much. But we can wonder! From now until tomorrow morning when you come to school again, will you do that? Will you wonder why and wonder why? … For sometimes when we wonder, we can make things begin to happen”
Building Relationships and Friendships
The resulting story is a beautiful picture of each of the young children bringing a small village together in their own unique way. It all starts with the encouragement to wonder, and then things do begin to happen. The children don’t find what they’re looking for right away, but along the road, they make new friends, especially in the older generation of their community.
We’re not through the book yet, so I’m not certain whether the kids manage to bring storks to their village or not. But even so, I love this book! It has been worth the read just for the fun and entertaining stories about each child and the results of their quest to bring storks to the village. I’m looking forward to finishing the read-aloud with my family and I’m hoping to look up some more of Meindert DeJong’s other children’s books for future reading.