What a Team is a story about the blended family of Mrs. Fox and Mr. Badger. Between them there are four kids. Bristle (badger boy), is at the top of a hill on a piece of wood, ready to jump into a large pile of leaves. He is the first to jump and it is not a great jump. Others continue to jump, each trying to win the jumping contest. When it’s Ginger’s (girl fox), turn she bails claiming she wants to build a boat. The two badger boys, Bristle and Grub, both complain that Ginger is “disturbing a team of great athletes.” Ginger replies that they are “lazybones” and “almost brothers.”
This starts the competition that will decide it all – the boat race. Only, Bristle and Ginger want to make a different boat and can’t agree, no, won’t agree. So they each make their own boat thinking that their friends and Grub will help. Those guys are tired of the fighting, so they go off and build a boat together. Won’t say who wins the race, mainly because the most fun is getting there.
Teamwork is the theme of this story. Compromise get some word time too. Mrs. Fox shows Berry, the youngest, how to take a shell off a snail and make snail salad. Mr. Badger enters and questions why they are shelling when it takes so good and is crunchy? Mrs. Fox compromises by making the shelled snail salad half with shells and half without.
After dinner it is time for the kids to get back to building. Young Berry wants to go but does not know how to swim (they are building by the river). Berry wails his disaproval loud and often. Bristle comes up with the idea of a floating device and Grub takes that idea and makes a life jacket out of wood for Berry.
Ginger, a bossy, take charge kind of fox goes one way. Bristle, the badger with the big ideas, goes the opposite direction. Grub, who is good at taking his brother’s ideas and make them happen, is off with the friends in a different direction, refusing to take up sides. Bristle is unhappy right away – his axe is broke. Grub switches with his brother and Bristle still has trouble. While all are building, Berry wanders off to play near the river, nearly entering the water at least twice. It is Grub who takes notice and patiently rescues the little one both times.
This picture book was first published last year in France. It has been translated into English by Edward Gaurin. I haven’t seen the French version, not that I could have read it, yet nothing seems odd in this English version. It is a colorful book with great characters that I think will become a translated series. The story is fun and funny. The illustrations could tell the story by itself, yet that would be a terrible thing. If I counted correctly, twice, there are eight scenes in the short 32 page picture book. That is a lot of action.
The best scene, of course, is the next to last; the boat race scene. Three teams are entered: Ginger and her sailboat, Bristle and his kayak, and Grub and friends with their raft. The race announcer keeps the action lively calling out race like a horse race. And the winner is . . .you! Pick up the book and join the fun.
Note: received from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher