Lina is one of six school children in the small fishing village of Shora. When she writes an essay for school that asks why there are no storks in their village, the teacher encourages the class to find out for themselves. They discover that the roofs on the village's homes are pitched so steeply that the storks cannot find space to nest on the sharp ridges, and placing a wagon wheel on each roof ridge would give storks a place to nest. The task of finding a wagon wheel in the tiny village proves difficult, and the children meet several interesting personalities during their search. This simple, yet compelling plot teaches that if people think and wonder why, things will begin to happen and dreams will come true.
The schoolchildren are: Lina, the only girl in the small school; Jella, the biggest of all the children; Auka, an average boy; Eelka, who is fat and awkward; and Pier and Dirk, the inseparable twins. These six kids are aided by their teacher, Grandmother Sibble III, legless Janus, old Douwa, and the "tin man". Other characters include the fathers of the children, who are all fishermen; Lina's aunt, who lives in Nes; Evert, the man living across from Lina's aunt; Lina and Auka's younger siblings, Linda and Jan; Jana, Janus's wife; and the mothers of the children.
The dedication reads: "To my nieces, Shirley and Beverly, and their flying fingers".