The Sheep Go On Strike

Cover

Written and Illustrated by Jean-Francois Dumont

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014

One day on the farm, there was a revolution. Everyone knew about it.

The plot in a nutshell: Sheep protest being shorn

The sheep are tired of losing all their wool and dealing with the cold temperatures and illnesses that follow, so they decide to go on strike. When the dog comes to herd them, they stand their ground and refuse to move. Opinions on the farm are divided about the sheep’s actions. When the sheep march, chanting that they will no longer be meek doves, the doves show up to protest their slogan. The farm animals start picking sides and when the dogs arrive on the scene, it turns into a full brawl. The next day, the animals try to figure out a way to solve the problem and a pig makes a suggestion. That fall, the sheep are all sheared and the farm is a flurry of activity that night, with strange clicking sounds. The next day, the sheep are all wearing lovely knitted sweaters.

Idea

When this pig speaks, people listen.

Author/illustrator Jean-Francois Dumont is no stranger to farmyard politics. In previous books, he’s used chickens and geese to convey messages about xenophobia and individuality. Here, he’s taking on labor issues and social justice and the message of compromise is easily understood. There may be some word choices and aspects of the story that will need further explanations for younger kids, but the basic concepts are pretty clear. The artwork is fun and colorful and there’s a very cute touch on the endpapers, where there’s no artwork at all and a notice that the illustrator was on strike. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but didn’t think it was anything extraordinary.

And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that it’s better to all work together for a solution than to argue between sides.

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