Friday, June 8, 2012

storks and clogs

Read another groaner of a Newbery winner: The Wheel on the School, Meindert DeJong, illus. Maurice Sendak (1955 Medal Winner).

Remember how Maurice Sendak admitted to not liking children?--it's evident in his participation in this book. To be fair, this book was written in that black hole of children's literature known as the 1950s when people still didn't understand that children wanted to read books that aren't boring as hell.

The book opens with Lina sharing an essay about storks (they live in a small Dutch fishing town). The kids decide to bring storks back to their village, deciding they must find wheels for the storks to nest in. Can they find a wheel for the storks? Will the people in town lend a hand? It took DeJong FOREVER to unlock these mysteries...

Cons:
It was so damn long: 298 pages (over 300 in some editions)
It is boring as hell
It has that 1950s girls vs. boys mentality

Pros:
Best line of the book, "We've done so much that's illegal the last hour, a little more won't hurt, I guess." (said by an adult)
Not everything is honkey dory, there are some dead storks
I did appreciate that old people actually participated and were the catalyst for most of the action (alongside the children) and weren't just geezery

Amazon recommends grades 3-6; I wouldn't recommend it...unless you LOVE storks. (To be fair, a ton of people gave it good ratings on Goodreads.com)

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