Contemporary Appalachia is the setting for the activities of Charley, an irrepressibly curious kindergartner, who finally achieves the honor of carrying the school flag for his class. All the children in the Appalachian Mountains know that the highest honor at Little School is being chosen to "carry the flag" and lead the line to the school bus. It's the award given each day to the child who has been most helpful. When Charley Cornett begins school no one expects him to win the award. Charley's not exactly the helpful type, he's more the curious type. He has to climb out on a tree limb to see how the apple is attached. And he has to hold his hand over the water tap to see if running water can be stopped. Nothing can stop Charley. Then one special day, a day full of rocks and snakes and books, Charley surprises his family and the entire school!