The chief goal of The Wheel on the School is to illustrate how members of a community can work together and grow closer in the process of achieving a common goal. DeJong develops this theme in his tightly structured dramatic novel set in the Dutch village of Shora during the early twentieth century.
The routine business of Shora is interrupted after Una, the only girl in the village school, asks why there are no storks in Shora. Since storks bring good luck, the village ought to have some of the birds nesting on its roofs, but for some reason the storks do not come.
Lina's teacher encourages the class to ponder Lina's question, and before long the entire village—old people, parents, children, and even pre-schoolers—are involved in bringing storks and their good luck to the town.