Written by Bill Harley
Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Charlie Bumpers returns in the fifth book of the series. When Charlie learns that he will be on the same soccer team as his two best friends, Hector and Tommy, they have dreams of being the Pirates of Doom. Instead, they have to learn to play with many kids who have never played soccer before. It’s all about team work. Steadily, the team improves, though it’s never the killer team of their dreams. Charlie also learns that the glamor position might not be the most rewarding. Meanwhile, Charlie’s older brother, Matt, delights in bugging him and embarrassing him as much as possible. Charlie, Hector, and Tommy attempt to sell chocolate bars together for a team fundraiser, which proves disastrous. They eat the bars themselves, give away bars on credit, and lose some of the money. Of course, everything comes out alright in the end, even though the boys must pay the price.
There’s enough action in this tale to keep kids interested and working on their literacy skills while also learning about working together and about responsibility. The true-to-life situations make it very relatable. Recommended for independent reading or for reading as a class for discussion.