Strike at Charles' Farm/Grève à la Ferme de Charles

Children - Animals
30 Pages
Reviewed on 11/07/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Dr. Nicole, a teaching family doctor with over 35 years of experience has dedicated her life to changing the world one young reader at a time. Having authored more than 20 children’s books, Dr. Nicole is a Canadian bestselling author who has won multiple literary awards for her work, and more than 150,000 readers love her books.
The “Felix & Booboo” series is available in French and in English. For more details visit or Dr. Nicole is also a Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Pediatrics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Strike at Charles’ Farm: Grève à la Ferme de Charles is a bilingual educational picture book for children written by Dr. Nicole and illustrated by Mylene Villeneuve. The animals are not cooperating with Charles, and they have refused to do their normal chores. The hen won’t lay eggs, and the dog refuses to look after the sheep. Charles is not sure what to do, so he gathers all the discontented animals together and asks each one what they want. Some of the animals simply want more food, or easier tasks, while others, like the dog, want the impossible as quieter sheep were simply not to be had. Charles has a solution, but the animals aren’t at all enthusiastic about his proposal.

Dr. Nicole’s children’s bilingual picture book introduces a working farm to young readers complete with farm animals and the parts they play, and it does so in both French and English. The striking animals are marvelously portrayed by illustrator, Mylene Villeneuve. Each panel is bold and brightly colored, and those discontented expressions on the animals’ faces are hilarious. As I read the story, I was impressed by how much of my old French was returning to me, and how I was getting familiar once again with the contrasting word constructions used in each language. Dr. Nicole’s book teaches as it entertains, and the reader is immersed in both languages at the same time, letting the reader compare the languages and see where they are alike and where they differ.

Young readers are exposed to a fair amount of animal-related vocabulary, including animal sounds, and their comprehension can be enhanced through the use of the questions given at the end of the text. Strike at Charles’ Farm: Grève à la Ferme de Charles illustrates how learning a second language can be fun and even relatively simple, and it’s most highly recommended.

Marilla Mulwane

Dr. Nicole has created a cute story about life on the farm, but the animals are on strike. Strike at Charles' Farm is a colorful children's story designed to teach kids about the benefits of hard work. All the animals have become a bit lazy and each of them refuses to do his or her job. Despite not doing their jobs, they also demand some things to make life even easier. Will they learn their lesson that hard work means they earn those things to make life easier? Strike at Charles' Farm is filled with bright, lifelike art. The animals have hilarious expressions, such as the cow and her disdain for the milk bucket. There is also some hidden humor in the pages. One of the best is of the dog that refuses to take care of the sheep. Take a good look at those silly sheep. The art is one of the best parts of Dr. Nicole's book.

All children's books also need to teach a lesson or two. This book does that in a few ways. First, and this might not be intentional, but the author uses an unusual word here and there that a child might not know. This is a chance to teach a new word to young readers and even make them look it up in a dictionary. Second, the child learns about the different farm animals and their jobs on a farm. Third, there are several questions at the end for readers to answer. Fourth, the story is also in French! A great way to get kids started on learning a new language. Now, the main moral of the story is that the animals learn about the benefits of hard work. Dr. Nicole's Strike at Charles' Farm is a beautiful, quick, and adorable read for all ages, filled with excellent lessons for kids.

Alysha Allen

Learn French with the animals in Strike at Charles' Farm (Grève à la ferme de Charles) by esteemed Quebec children's author, Dr. Nicole Audet, and striking visuals by Mylène Villeneuve. Intent on having easier working and living conditions, the animals protest with a strike until their demands are met, namely to barely work at all and to play more. But, before any resolution can be achieved to the satisfaction of everyone, the animals and the farmer must learn to compromise for the happiness of all involved. For children interested in developing their French reading skills or parents desirous of their children to acquire the rudiments of a new language, Strike at Charles' Farm is the perfect starter.

The French text precedes the English translation, so that children may actively test their knowledge of words before reading the English equivalent afterwards. As I read through the book, I myself attempted to translate French expressions as well as pronounce them accurately. Indeed, parents who are familiar with the French language can instruct their children as to correct pronunciations as they read. On that note, it would be beneficial if a pronunciation guide and a dictionary of important words were included for those not as well versed in reading and speaking French. Such a guide would be greatly informative for a child, teen, or adult's language acquisition. Furthermore, a questionnaire at the end of the book in English and French tests engagement while teaching even more French words, a boon to the intellectually curious. Overall, Audet's lively writing paired with the playful and humorous, vibrantly colored illustrations by Villeneuve will surely put a smile on any reader's face.

Stephen Fisher

Strike at Charles' Farm by Dr. Nicole is a wonderfully written children's picture book about a group of farm animals that all unite to stop working. Then the animals present their own individual demands that would improve the quality of their life. Wouf the Dog would prefer quieter sheep. The sheep want more grass, the cow wants better hay, Coco the cat wants more mice. The rooster wants more hens. The hens have stopped laying eggs, and Bizzy the bee wants more flowers closer to his hive. Charles make an unexpected suggestion that surprises the animals, a suggestion that they hadn't expected or even considered.

What I appreciated with Dr. Nicole's delivery of this tale was its telling in two languages simultaneously; French and English. French is on top with English at the bottom of the page. To help the story along, the author's ability to get readers to sympathize with each animal's plight makes their demands appear to be well thought out and deserved. Just as in the labor disputes between workers and management, the similarities were ever present. When all is said and done, more often than not, management is given three choices: to give in to their demands, threaten to terminate them, or simply just close up shop. I can actually visualize teachers discussing the book with their students to get them involved with the possible solutions. Strike at Charles' Farm is an entertaining and thought provoking piece of work that gives an excellent example of stimulating young minds. Well done!

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

The barnyard animals are being difficult. They have decided to go on strike. The horse doesn't want to pull heavy carts, the cow doesn't want to be milked and the chicken doesn't want to lay eggs. Even the dog and the cat refuse their roles of herding sheep and catching mice respectively. So what is Farmer Charles to do? Well, he does what any person would do, he decides to negotiate and hear what the animals have to say. After listening to their complaints, he suggests they move to the zoo where they will be pampered, but locked in cages. what do the animals say to this?

Dr. Nicole has written a charming story for young readers in Strike at Charles' Farm. It is a cute, colorful story about barnyard animals and their roles on the farm. The story is written in French and English to teach children more vocabulary in both languages. The story is lightly humorous as the barnyard animals grumble about their roles on the farm. Farmer Charles acts as any parent would do, pointing out the realities to these animals and stating quite simply that their lives are much better where they are than they would be elsewhere.

There is much to learn in this picture book. Young readers learn about the importance of roles, how every living creature has a role in life. They also learn about life on the farm and pulling one's own weight in making things run smoothly. They learn the art of negotiation, as well as learning valuable vocabulary in two languages: French and English. At the end of the book, there is a question/answer section to see how much the young readers learned. A great teaching tool.