Languages: Luxembourgish , German, French
(also published in Luxembougish, Portuguese, English)
Title: D'Grissette an D'Choupette um motorrad ,
(Grisette and Choupette on the motor cycle)
Author: Theis A. & Ries M.
Publisher: Joseph Beffort (1995)
Chosen by: Romain Sahr
Lecturer in German studies, Institut Supérieur d'Etudes et de Recherches
Pédagogiques, Walferdange, Luxembourg.
for choosing the book:
This book has been chosen because it reflects the complex language
situation in Luxembourg. In D'Grissette an D'Choupette um motorrad
the story is told in three languages which are
spoken as the 'mother tongue' in day nurseries, for very young children,
or in the kindergarten: Luxembourgish/German/French, or Luxembourgish/French/Portuguese!
This is so that all the teachers can read the same story. In 1995 the
publishers produced three books of this kind which were very popular with
children between the ages of 4 and 7.
Grisette and Choupette, two mischievous mice, steal a 'forbidden'
motor cycle. First of all they just sit on it and play about with the
switches. but then they get more adventurous and decide to ride it through
Gustave's farmyard. Together they go past the surprised horses, through
the duck-pond - splashing everything in sight - and finally down the steep
slope towards the village. They go so fast that they begin to get frightened
and don't see a tree root in their way and . Crash! The race is over and
the two friends land up in a heap. Farmer Gustave decides not to scold
them but to bandage their wounds. They promise him that, in future, they
will not take anything without asking. To make sure of this, Gustave keeps
them under tight control and rides the motor cycle himself, forcing the
mice to become rather uncomfortable passengers!
It was a beautiful afternoon during summer.
The two mice, who lived on the farm of Gustave, felt bored.
The older one was called Grisette and the younger, Choupette.
The were living in the barn near a big heap of wood piled up for the winter.
The only thing they were interested in, on this sunny Sunday, was the
old red motor cycle.
It could take them to the country to their friends Ninette, Annette and
The farmer had often forbidden them to touch his motor cycle.
However, when they saw Gustave leaving for a drive with in his barouche
(p. 3/4), they decided to carry out their plan to test this beautiful
Without losing any time, they climbed onto the biggest wheel and began
to examine the impressive vehicle.
Grisette tested all the buttons and, suddenly, the motor was growling
Frightened Choupette slipped and fell on the pedal, making the motor cycle
The two mischievous mice were scared but ready for anything.
What a pleasure to be carried away by this wonderful racing machine.
They were shouting with joy.
In spite of everything, they arrived at the farmyard.
The horse in his stable was amazed and the dog in his kennel barked furiously.
The hens and ducks, who were pecking quietly at their grains of corn,
just found enough time to run away.
The motor cycle was now going at full speed.
The mice were driving so quickly that they couldn't avoid a large puddle
and splashed the white goose who was going for a walk.
At the gates of the farm they became dizzy when they saw the steepness
of the slope down to the village. So quickly, perhaps a little too quickly...
The motor cycle took off and went so quickly that the little mice could
hardly hold on.
They didn't even have time to say 'Hello' to Pitou, the hare, who was
sitting on the edge of the path nibbling carrots.
Grissette and Choupette didn't know how to stop the machine and they were
The motor cycle lightly touched a large tree root and couldn't avoid an
enormous rock that was in the way.
Finally, the race was over!
But the two mice were not in such good form any more.
Grisette's ear was twisted and Choupette's tail was bleeding.
Gustave found them like that when he came back from his journey.
He was very surprised to see his motor cycle lying in the road completely
But he understood what had happened when he saw the two suffering mice.
He was very angry, but instead of grumbling, he decided to show some pity
and took them back to the farm to tend their wounds.
On the way back, the two mice began to apologise to the farmer.
They promised him that they would never take away anything again without
asking for his permission.
At home, Gustave bandaged Grissette's head and tightly bound Choupette's
Grisette and Choupette became Gustave's best friends and he took them
to revisit their friends in the country...
... on this old and wonderful red motor cycle.
NB This is a working translation
for educational purpose only.
for use in school:
1. Listen to the CD in Luxembourgish whilst looking at the illustrations.
Does this language resemble any others on the CDs? Discuss with your children
why so many languages are spoken in Luxembourg which is a very small country.
(Refer to map and discuss the French and German influence as well as the
Portuguese (through immigration) and English). What might be the advantages
and disadvantages of working in so many languages? Try to find as many
ways as possible for expressing one phrase eg 'Hello' or 'Good Morning'
in French, German, Portuguese, Spanish etc. and make mobiles for each
one to hang around the classroom.
2. Get the children to look carefully at the first page of the text. The
highlighted language is Luxembourgish, the national language of Luxembourg.
Are there any words that resemble English? What are the similarities and
differences between the three written languages? You might like to check
in the dictionary for the etymology of some of these words [usually indicated
after the reference in square brackets]. Summer, for example, comes from
Old English, has a Germanic root, and is suffixed by [E] in the dictionary.
3. If your children are leaning French or German in school or at home,
they might like to write a another cartoon adventure of the two mice,
with brief captions in the language they are learning.
Consider Luxembourg's physical position within Europe and
how this might affect both its language and culture. How does this compare
with your own?
NB Further literature and language-based activities can be found
Picture Books sans Frontières available from