If Molly and Mae: A Friendship Journey is my favorite book on our teamwork and cooperation booklist, then That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz comes in a very close second! Brightly illustrated and interspersed with lovely humor, That Fruit Is Mine! gives children very concrete examples of what results from groups that work with teamwork and cooperation for the benefit of the group, and groups that work, well, with their own individual ideas and interests in mind. And, does it get much better than silly illustrations of an elephant trying to fly in a homemade flying machine, or his friend trying to climb a tree? I think not!
At the start of That Fruit Is Mine!, we meet a group of five elephant friends, who live happily together in the jungle. Happily, that is, because they each like to munch on different fruit, so they never have to compete or share. But then, one day, a new fruit appears. A fruit they’ve never before seen, but a fruit that each of the five elephants must have! Shouting “Mine!,” each elephant comes up with his or her own idea of how to get said fruit from where it hangs, high in a tree. And, as you can probably guess, not a single elephant successfully enjoys the desired fruit.
Now, that story in and of itself sends a powerful message to children. But, Allepuz’s storytelling doesn’t stop there! Told in tandem with the elephant’s journey, five mice also live in the same jungle, see the same new fruit, and want to give it a try. The mice, however, work together to achieve their desired goal! They demonstrate teamwork, show cooperation, listen to each other, lead collaboratively, use their manners… And get the fruit, exclaiming in unison, “This fruit is OURS!”
Four of the five elephants learn a very important lesson. The fifth may realize his error in ways eventually, but we’ll never know, as his flying machine carried him right past the tree and away on a breeze. (Be sure to look for tiny tidbits of even more humor scattered throughout the book, such as the mouse who sees “a humongous bug…”)
If you liked this, be sure to check out the rest of the books on our booklist of fantastic reads to build teamwork and cooperation skills. Also, check out my in-depth reviews of Molly and Mae and Grace for President/Grace Goes to Washington.
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