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 village to work until at last the dream began to come true.
Personal Reflection: The story reminds me about a young Lieutenant during a war was asked to deliver a message to President Garcia, but was not told anything, the LT. had to figure it out on his own. I told that story many times to my Soldiers throughout my career.
1. The same lesson that was taught in the book, could be used in any school, and the children could figure out why a bird or other animal is no longer in their immediate area.
2. In a science class, teach nesting habits of different birds, and why they nest in the same area each year.
This story takes place in the small village of Shora in the Netherlands. Theonly girl of the 5 students at the town school, Lina, writes a story wondering why Shora doesn't have storks like the neighboring towns. The teacher tells the kids to wonder about it. Which leads to their discussing it. They learn that Shora did have storks, and their oldest neighbors remember them. The students learn they need a wheel on the roof, for storks to nest on. They search for a wheel, and pretty soon the whole town (and neighbors from another town) is involved. They meet older neighbors they have been afraid of or just never spoke to, they have adventures, and they learn each others' strengths. A very sweet story about how you can accomplish something if you work hard, work together, and think outside the box.
Synopsis: A group of six school children in Holland at some unspecified time in the past, decide they need to put a wagon wheel on the roof of their school so migrating storks will have a place to nest, and will do so in their town, bringing good luck. The entire book is pretty much the story of the kids, and adults that they drag into their scheme, trying to first find a spare wagon wheel, then get it to the school, get it mounted on the roof, and then attract storks. And yet, the book was fun, endearing, and occasionally exciting.
There are no bad guys. A few of the children are benignly naughty, as all children are from time to time. A few of the adults are cranky or short-tempered, as all adults are from time to time, but you always know everyone is good. Whereas most YA books seem to be about family, friendship, or both, this book is more about community and cooperation. What can happen when everyone works together towards a common goal.
It was the 1955 Newbery winner, and I have to wonder if it seemed old fashioned even then. It does now, but in a good way. And although set in Holland, this is not one of those Newbery winners that seem primarily trying to teach another country's life and culture to American children. The story is about things all children will relate to.
I'm not sure who today's audience would be. It seems rather long to engage many 3rd or 4th graders, but they would probably enjoy it the most. Today's middle schooler would probably find it rather naively sweet and therefore something to scoff at. But this 52 year old enjoyed it.