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Loser Paperback – July 29, 2003
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The author recounts Zinkoff's story--a case study of sorts--in short sentences from a deliberately reportorial point of view, documenting the first years of the boy's life and his evolution into a loser. What makes the book charming and buoyant is that the reader, like Zinkoff's parents and his favorite teacher, appreciates the boy's oblivious joie de vivre and his divine quirks. What is less compelling about the novel is the "let this be a lesson to us" heavy-handedness that accompanies the reportorial approach. Still, Spinelli comes through again with a lively, often moving story with humor and heart to spare. (Ages 8 to 12) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
teacher I began reading aloud to my middle school students.
Shame on me! I should have begun on day one. Not only did my
students love it (Southwest Detroit), but I learned that young
adult fiction can be as exciting and heartwarming as anything
written for an adult. My students loved Maniac Magee, Crash, and The Library Card by Spinelli. They begged me to read just one more chapter each day. Of course, they also loved when Ms. Kirsch got too teary-eyed and had to call on a student to read.
I have been the librarian in our school for the past 3 years
and always have a young adult novel alongside my other reads.
Jerry Spinelli is my favorite. Wringer, Stargirl, and now Loser
are among my all-time most special books. I forget the storylines
of many other books I have read, but never Jerry Spinelli's. I
am able to recount each character and the circumstances that
were important in their lives.
Loser is a very special book. Donald Zinkoff is an extra-
ordinary character. His giraffe hat, his love for school, his
uncontrollable giggles, his belief that he runs so fast. He
wants to sit in that first seat in class, and yet his last name
dooms him to the last seat in the last row. Until the 4th grade
when his teacher seats him in the first row. Oh, how he loves
that teacher. Yahoo!
Zinkoff reminds me of no other student I have ever encountered. Maybe by the time they get to sixth grade, they
have had that exhuberance knocked out of them. Maybe that is
why I cried so hard while reading this book.
While Donald becomes a hero in our mind while searching for
the girl on a leash in a snowstorm, Spinelli doesn't rally the
classmates in a stunning salute. He eases us out, and I guess
we know that things are going to be all right for Zinkoff.
I enjoyed reading Loser for a number of reasons. First, the plot of Loser is a simple one that I think every human-young and old-can relate to. Everyone's been teased one time or another. I think it would be an interesting experience for all readers to see how one character deals with being teased. Zinkoff is such a complicated character because he doesn't even realize that others see him as a loser. Most people would feel hurt and embarrassed (maybe even angry) if they were in Donald's shoes, but not Zinkoff.
Because he is so oblivious to his classmate's taunts, I started to believe that there was more to Zinkoff than Jerry Spinelli was saying. Is Zinkoff just clumsy and weird or does he suffer from real learning and behavioral disabilities? I kept hoping Spinelli would explain more about Donald and his condition.Read more ›
Loser is the story Donald Zinkoff as he moves from the first through the sixth grades. In essence, it is the story of how "winners" and "losers" are created. In the early grades, Zinkoff may be a little odd but his peers have not yet learned how and why to exclude certain children. As time goes on, however, Zinkoff's love of school (despite his rather limited abilities) and, in particular, poor performance at sports makes him an outcast.
It should be understood that this novel is basically an interesting character study of a single character--Zinkoff. Despite the rather dramatic wandering in the snowstorm near the end of the book, there is not a lot of action beyond the ordinary day-to-day events in the life of a young man. But this is one of the things that gives this book its charm. That, and Zinkoff's own obliviousness to his social status. It is nice to see a character who basically likes himself.
On the other hand, this is a clue to the novel's weakness. This is basically a very sophisticated story about a boy who has social problems as well as real problems that are only hinted at. As an adult, I found it very true and interesting but it works on a level higher than a lot of younger readers might be capable of reaching. Teenage readers might get a lot from this novel but will they read a story about a grade-schooler? I am afraid this novel will have a tough time finding an audience which is too bad because it is well worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent writing, topic, viewpoint, honesty... An important book for those enduring being different and those who torment them.Published 3 months ago by kee
This is the first Jerry Spinelli book that my third grade son read and it launched him into reading many other Spinelli books (such as Maniac Magee and Wringer, also both excellent... Read morePublished 3 months ago by cinhof
I want everyone I know, especially teachers, to read this book. Jerry Spinelli, I will buy every book I see that you have written. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Theresa Caffero
This book is great and brings a tear to our eyes!
This is a review from my 9 year old son.
The only complaint I had was having to return the book twice for an exchange because it kept coming to me damaged. Otherwise, terrific buy!Published 4 months ago by Michel48
I personally love this book and have since I read it in 8th grade. The copy I read then only had the front cover reading "Loser" smeared on a drawn chalkboard. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sana