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Donuthead Paperback – June 28, 2005

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-"My name, if you must know, is Franklin Delano Donuthead. Try saying that in a room full of fifth graders if you think names will never hurt you." Franklin's mother is a "cable guy," his father, an unknown sperm donor. His life in the small town of Pelican View is changed forever when he meets Sarah Kervick, a new girl who's so neglected that her long hair is a rat's nest of tangles. Franklin is compulsively careful and clean, and holds lengthy phone conversations with a woman at the National Safety Department. Sarah is almost exactly the opposite, and doesn't "take crap from anyone." When she wants him to steal wart remover for her, Franklin's primary fear of prison is "-bathing barefoot." Their prickly relationship is cemented by Sarah's affection for Franklin's gem of a mother, who wants him to play baseball, but is just as happy to discover Sarah's talents in this area. There's a lot going on in this story, it's true, but the author succeeds in smoothly carrying the action to a satisfying conclusion, and in delivering some lovely messages about kindness and hope and being true to yourself. It's refreshing for a novel with problem situations to be so light and funny. An appealing story with some memorable characters and a lot of heart.
Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-6. Franklin Delano Donuthead is pathologically fearful of germs, junk food, and making friends. His single mom, on the other hand, is spunky and caring, a credible magnet for Sarah, the new girl at Franklin's school who tries to bully him into helping her get the snarls out of her filthy hair. Despite the bad beginning, Franklin eventually allows himself to care about Sarah, not only helping her to tackle reading but also helping another friend manage a good deed on Sarah's behalf. For her part, Sarah knows how to dispatch the real class bully while showing Franklin a thing or two about the people around him. Stauffacher does go into some unusual, ocassionally dark, places here--Sarah's hardscrabble home life, Donuthead's pathological fears and his parentage (he's the product of artificial insemination)--but the gentle humor and the accessible treatment of some very real issues balances everything quite nicely. Francisca Goldsmith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440419344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440419341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Growing up is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much better to skip it and go from one childhood to another." So, I tried growing up and it didn't suit me as well as going from one childhood to another. Which is to say, that to write children's books is to stay in touch with childhood. Which is to say, it's not a bad thing to stay in touch with the child-like senses of wonder and delight.

So I think I will. My recently redone website will introduce young readers to my books and to my weblog about developing your own creative spirit and rekindling or nourishing your sense of wonder and delight.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Franklin Delano Donuthead has a problem or two --- his name, for starters. He also worries constantly about his own health and safety. One side of his body is growing faster than the other. It's less than an inch, yet Franklin measures every day. He memorizes the probabilities of his death in different ways --- car accidents, drowning, etc. --- and is on first-name terms with Gloria, the chief statistician for the National Safety Department. He calls her frequently.
Franklin's concerns never stop: he stresses over girls and ponders the possibility of his mother finding a husband. She points out that she is hampered by his habit of interviewing her dates and handing them medical questionnaires.
New kid Sarah Kervick slouches into Franklin's ordered and hygienic world. She doesn't brush her hair, has a few brown teeth, and doesn't bother to wear warm clothes or mask her attitude. He hasn't known Sarah ten minutes before she's socking the school bully. Franklin's teacher assigns him to help Sarah adjust to her new school. Soon, Sarah and Franklin's mother become friends, and his mom even hires Sarah to help teach Franklin to play baseball.
Before Franklin can say "please wash your hands before touching me," he is involved with "rude, law-breaking and violent" Sarah. He is disgusted with this state of affairs. However, Franklin soon discovers a hidden side to Sarah. Her dreams, abilities and home life challenge his opinion of her. Sarah's life makes him view his own problems in a new light.
Franklin tells his story so humorously that his self-centeredness is quirky rather than obnoxious. The comic tone is balanced by a few surprisingly sad moments. The conclusion, demonstrating how Franklin has changed, is hilarious yet sweet.
Anyone hungry for a helping of belly laughs plus a tender side dish of unexpected friendship should find DONUTHEAD a tasty read.
--- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (...)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Is there any sight more thrilling to the human heart than when one witnesses the start of a writer who will someday be regarded as one of the greats? Sue Stauffacher, as of this review, hasn't that many children's books to her name. This in no way reflects badly on Sue. She's at the beginning of her authorial career and is already wowing audiences left and right with her witty/heartfelt tales. My mother, a bookstore employee in Southwest Michigan (much like the author), turned me onto one of Ms. Stauffacher's first tales by simply quoting the first lines in the book. "My name, if you must know, is Franklin Delano Donuthead. Try saying that in a room full of fifth graders if you think names will never hurt you". And we're off!

Yes, true enough our hero has the unfortunate moniker, Donuthead. It's a family name. Apparently when one of his ancestors emigrated to America, the otherwise respectable title Donotscked was changed to Donuthead. This might be seen as unfortunate, but if Franklin's ancestor was anything like his latest descendent then he probably deserved the change. You see, Franklin likes his life to be orderly to the point of madness. His number one goal in life is to not die. So far, he's done rather well. He makes sure that his mother buys only organic foods (berating her sharply if jellybeans somehow make an appearance on the grocery list). He engages in no sports and he regularly calls the chief statistician for the National Safety Department in Washington (a Ms. Gloria Nelots) for advice. Then, one day, Franklin's matter-of-fact existence runs smack dab into Sarah Kervick. Sarah's dirty (quote Donuthead, "I'd never seen a finer host for parasites...
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reader on May 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
No worries! This book is wonderful. It's a funny and winsome story about an anxiety-ridden boy named Franklin Delano Donuthead. FDD spends his days calculating the statistical likelihood of (most likely to be fatal) accidents, while planning to avoid as many as possible, before he meets a girl named Sarah and must risk coming out of his hard, protective shell. An author to watch, able to treat serious issues in a humorous way, while still getting across their seriousness. Perfect for 4th-7th graders.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Becky C on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
First of all, let me say I loved this book. I enjoyed the humor, the great job the author did with developing the characters, and the message about appearances may be deceiving.

I purchased this book for my elementary school library based on the professional reviews provided above.

Yet, when I read this book, I was surprised to see that this book was recommended for third graders due to the reference to hermaphrodites on page 52 of this book. I am a very liberal person, but I feel like I cannot justify putting this book in my collection because I don't think my precocious readers (those first and second graders who can read anything) are developmentally ready for this. I know some young student will read this book and ask his/her parent what a hermaphrodite is and I will be put on the line about why I chose to put this book in my library.

So with a VERY heavy heart, I must withdraw this wonderful book from my collection. This book was purchased by three other librarians within my district. I was the only one to read this book but when I was feeling so torn, I asked them to take a look at the page that concerned me and they all shocked to find this reference in a book for this age group.

I don't usually write reviews on Amazon, but I think other librarians who purchase this book might find it helpful to be aware that at least that this topic appears in a book recommended for third graders.

When the great scrotum debate happened with "The Higher Power of Lucky" last year, I had no problem placing that on my shelves. But this one pushed it too far.

Please read this book for yourself -- it is a true pleasure. I think middle school students would definitely find a lot to like in this book. I plan to read Donutheart, the sequel, in the near future.
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