Grades 2-6 (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2011)
The Harmony Point Terriers are having a rough season. They’ve lost their first 3 games, their old coach and – thanks to vandals changing the town sign to read Arm Pit – they’ve even lost their name. It’s understandable that, when they suspect the Harmony Point post office is about to be closed, they get nervous: their new coach is the post man and they are not going to lose him as well!
Saving Arm Pit is a new twist on the classic story of team spirit and determination. The Terriers’ dream of becoming a winning team is an underlying current in the story but what occupies the kids’ minds between practices is their desire to exercise control over things that impact them and to find a way to stand up for what they value. When the kids launch a campaign to flood the post office with letters, they learn what like-minded people can achieve by working as a team, but also what individuals can accomplish by actively using their voices. Their letters are responsible for getting the town’s roads resurfaced, for acquiring new baseball jerseys and, finally, for spurring the replacement of the Harmony Point sign.
Clay, Stewy, Scott, Sophie, Tim & Tom are well-developed and relatable kids, refreshingly individualized by their respective strengths and not as “the snob” or “the bully” or “the dimwit.” You can always count on Stewy to tell you the truth; Scott is the one to turn to if you’re looking for facts and figures and Sophie brings her terrific speed and determination to every game.
Although the baseball information is easily accessible, this book never talks down to the reader. Even “unsporty” kids – like mine – will devour the plot and learn a little more about baseball as they read. The ending, too, is satisfying and affirmative while realistic – and tinged with just enough irony to make readers smile all the more.