Being a part of a team means putting our own desires aside.
Name: Team Steve
Author: Kelly Collier
Illustrator: Kelly Collier
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2018
Written for Ages: 4-8
Summary: Steve, the good-natured, self-absorbed horse, always wins the Annual Race-a-Thon. This year, however, it is a relay race. In the spirit of fairness, teams are created by drawing names. Steve’s team could not be any more hilarious. His teammates are a turtle, a snail, and a duck. Steve looks at the situation and gets an idea. What if he coaches his teammates? Steve has always run the Race-a-Thon, certainly, he has the wisdom to share. Along with his goofy smile, Steve spouts out nonsensical tips, completely oblivious to what is actually happening. Thanks to the simple, sepia-toned illustrations, the readers are in the know. Steve’s coaching aside, with the combination of the course and the weather, each teammate is perfect for each situation. Turtle, snail, and duck each manage to get ahead of the other team. Steve, filled with excitement for his team, forgets to run his portion of the race.
Scripture Connection: There are a number of times in the New Testament when the image of the Body of Christ is used to teach the early disciples what it meant to be the church. In short, it means working together as a team. 1 Corinthians 12:14-16 is one of those places. Later, in 1 Corinthians 12:20-25, Paul calls for the community to be of the same mind, same love, and of one mind.
Theological Connection: To be of one mind is to be of the mind of Christ. We are to be Christ-like. This means we have to set aside our own selfish wants and desires. Steve has to do this when he is partnered up with his new team. He has to set aside his desire to win the race and work with the others. To be of the same mind as Christ is to put others first.
Justice Connection: Steve did not end up with the most ideal team for a race. A turtle, a snail, and a duck. But, Steve, comically, takes on the task of coaching this group. And the coaching works, to the point that Steve is so excited that he forgets to run. It is a good reminder that those who are often picked last will be first. Too often we label those who appear to be slower, or less talented, as lesser than. But in reality, that have strengths and gifts to contribute the work of the team.
Faith Talk (God Talk):
- If you were Steve and you met your team, what would your first thought be?
- How did each of Steve’s teammates handle their portion of the race?
- How did they work together as a team?
- Are you part of a team? What kind of team?
- What it would like if the church acted as a team?
Parenting Connection: This is such a fun book to read with children. There are words used in the story to enhance a child’s vocabulary. It is also a great discussion starter about sportsmanship and teamwork, especially as more and more children are engaged in team sports. Parents could model Steve’s coaching role in helping their children understand the character of teamwork, to set aside selfish desires in order to support the team.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.
You can buy a copy at Amazon or check out your local library.