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Meindert DeJong (1) (1906–1991)

Author of The Wheel on the School

For other authors named Meindert DeJong, see the disambiguation page.

28+ Works 8,029 Members 77 Reviews

About the Author

Meindert DeJong is the award-winning author of many classic books for children. Among Mr. Sendak's other popular books is his Caldecott Medal-winning Where the Wild Things Are
Image credit: Meindert De Jong, sometimes spelled de Jong or Dejong (4 March 1906 – 16 July 1991), Dutch-American author of children's books By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36713558

Works by Meindert DeJong

The Wheel on the School (1954) 2,888 copies
The House of Sixty Fathers (1956) 1,476 copies
Along Came a Dog (1958) 1,016 copies
Shadrach (1953) 670 copies
The Last Little Cat (1961) 517 copies
Hurry Home, Candy (1953) 343 copies
The Singing Hill (1856) 109 copies
Far Out the Long Canal (1777) 108 copies
A Horse Came Running (1830) 100 copies
The Easter Cat (1971) 93 copies
Smoke Above the Lane (1951) 93 copies
Dirk's Dog, Bello (1939) 71 copies
Puppy Summer (1966) 34 copies
The Mighty Ones (1959) 33 copies
the tower by the sea (1950) 32 copies
The Cat That Walked a Week (1943) 25 copies
Good Luck Duck (1950) 22 copies
Nobody Plays with a Cabbage (1962) 22 copies
Lina and the Storks (1963) 4 copies
Bible Days (1961) 4 copies
Bells of the Harbor (1941) 3 copies
The Little Stray Dog (1943) 2 copies

Associated Works

Open the Door (1965) — Contributor — 22 copies
Writing Books for Boys and Girls (1952) — Contributor, some editions — 5 copies
Thrilling Adventure Stories (1988) — Contributor — 5 copies


20th century (32) Ambleside (27) animals (81) AO2 (30) birds (26) cats (26) chapter book (74) children (145) children's (222) children's fiction (96) children's literature (99) China (122) dogs (66) Dutch (44) fiction (501) Grade 3 (26) Grade 4 (35) grade 5 (33) historical fiction (181) history (26) Holland (127) Japan (51) juvenile (68) juvenile fiction (62) kids (31) literature (59) Netherlands (135) Newberry (31) Newbery (160) Newbery Honor (156) Newbery Medal (115) novel (28) read (38) read aloud (26) reader (26) school (31) Sonlight (120) storks (83) to-read (81) WWII (100)

Common Knowledge



Based on true events during the Sino-Japanese War, a young Chinese boy, Tien Pao, and his piglet were separated from his parents and baby sister. The Japanese had burned and occupied their village, and they were forced to flee. One day the family sampan -- carrying Tien Pao and his pig -- accidentally floated back into enemy territory. After making his way to shore, he sought to find his way back to his family through treacherous mountainous trails. Starving and exhausted, he and his pig slept in caves by day, and travelled by night.

One of those days he witnessed the Japanese shoot down an American military plane. Tien Pao rescued the injured pilot, and with the aid of a group of Chinese guerrillas, they carried him back to his unit. And when Tien Pao arrived at the village where his parents were last seen, the people were already fleeing because of the Japanese. Tien Pao searched relentlessly until he was picked up by a couple of American pilots and taken back to their barracks where they looked after him. All sixty pilots did. Hence the name House of Sixty Fathers.

Meanwhile, the injured pilot Tien Pao met in the mountains was part of this unit, and he took the young boy to search for his parents. Of course, he recognized his mother while she was working at a nearby airfield, where they were reunited.

This juvenile story has won many awards: Newberry Honor, Han Christian Andersen, and ALA Notable Children's Book. The author wrote this story based on his experiences as a pilot in China during WWII.

I read this to my kids for school because we are studying China during the 1900s to current times. It was somewhat juvenile for them, but it gave them a sense of China before communism, and when the U.S. and China were allies. Now not so much. I also gave the book three stars because it was "agreeable" and we liked it.
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GRLopez | 15 other reviews | Jan 22, 2024 |
Tien Pao is all alone in enemy territoy. Only a few days before, his family had escaped from the Japanese army, fleeing downriver by boat. Then came the terrible rainstorm. Tien Pao was fast asleep in the little sampan when the boat broke loose from its moorings and drifted right back to the Japanese soldiers. With only his lucky pig for company, Tien Pao must begin a long and dangerous journey in search of his home and family.
PlumfieldCH | 15 other reviews | Dec 13, 2023 |
4.5 stars

This is a very charming story about the 6 school-age children who live in a tiny Dutch fishing village called Shora (in Friesland). They get to wondering about why storks settle in all of the other villages, but never Shora, and how they can attract the birds. They decide that they need a wagon wheel to put on a roof for the birds to nest in and the bulk of the story is of the children searching all over the village for a wheel. They end up developing relationships with some of the older members of the village and the entire community gets involved in the stork project.

My mom read this aloud to me and my siblings when we were young and I remember we all liked it a lot; I read it to two of my nieces (ages 6 and 8) and they really enjoyed it, too.

The only reason I'm giving it 4.5 stars instead of 5 is that some of the sentences are a bit lengthy and include interjections that make reading it aloud a bit awkward at points. I also wish there had been a quick pronunciation guide included at the beginning of the book to help with the Dutch names. I got most of them right but had to Google a couple.
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RachelRachelRachel | 34 other reviews | Nov 21, 2023 |



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