Dedicated to ""ALL the boys who tried their best but couldn't make the team"" this is a sensitive, sympathetic and funny book which will appeal to every adolescent. Bertie Poddle, fat boy of good will and awkwardness, fails on every team. He loves sports, is genuinely loyal to the school and is determined and gritty even though he can never hope to be a real athletic success. Even with slapstick humor, there is the feeling of the underlying brief poignance of the teen ager who sees himself contrasted with his more successful fellows. And Bertie is an endearing boy, bumbling along, eating huge sundae, having crushes, and eventually winning a coveted letter -- even if it isn't quite the one he wants. This should have a long, sure appeal for boys especially, and many girls, of first and second year high school.