December 17, 2009

Book Review: Loser

Posted by at 9:04 am in Reads, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Loser_130 After reading Loser by Jerry Spinelli, I realized two things:

  1. Kids can be so cruel.
  2. I admire Donald Zinkoff.

Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli brings readers a thought-provoking and inspiring story of Donald Zinkoff as he travels from first through sixth grade.
However, Zinkoff is not a normal child. He's slower at learning than the other kids, he's disheveled, and his lack of athletic skills prevents him from ever being picked to participate in activities. In every way, he's different from the other kids.

But . . . Zinkoff is unaware of all of this. He is too busy thinking about himself to notice what others are thinking. He is busy growing up. He is busy growing out. (p.111)

Zinkoff is really nice, and he's totally happy just being who he is, whether other people like him or not. While many of us strive so hard to fit in, I really admire Zinkoff's ability to keep on being himself even though the other kids are mean to him.

I think Spinelli does amazing job at narrating the story, truly getting at the heart of Zinkoff's innocence and naiveté so that readers can relate to what Zinkoff is going through. In a way, Zinkoff reminds me of Forrest Gump from the film, Forrest Gump (rated PG-13), who is man with low IQ, but who has good intentions and accomplishes great things in life.

I give Loser by Jerry Spinelli 4.1 out of 5 stars.

—Carly M., STACKS Staffer

BONUS WRITING PROMPT: In the Middle School Survival series, the popular kids are called “pops.” What would your group of friends be called? Leave your answer in the Comments.

  1. Gryffondor_Girl

    I am a fourth grader and I actually just finished this book with my teacher in reading groups and I was not that crazy about it. I only really liked how Zinkoff formed a little bit of a friendship with the earwax guy. I forget his name but you probably get who I mean. I also liked how he formed that friendship with the old lady. It was sad when Claudia got lost and Zinkoff went looking for her in the blizzard. That shows that Zinkoff is not a loser.
    My “clique” is called Doodles Inc. brcause we love to draw so thats pretty much how we got the name Doodles Inc.

  2. misslyssx

    My friends and I constantly joke around and call our table millions of different nicknames. “Nerds”, “Geeks”, and “HP Fanatics” are only a few that we have come up with. It may seem like were putting ourselves down, but we’re proud of who we are. Besides, everyone has a little bit of nerd in them!

  3. greentea1398

    This book looks really good. I read one of the authors other books Eggs. it about a boy whose mother died and now he doesn’t break any rules and a girl who has a crazy mom and now she
    lives in a car. very weird, but the book was awesome and I really liked it so i think ill like this book too.

  4. TropicalBananas24

    I loved this book!!! It made me laugh a few times too!!! My teacher read it to the class in 5th grade.
    =0} <3

  5. Madison

    Well they call us blue shirts, but we’re pretty cool. All the girls hang out together and none of us are mean. Yay! Well I LOVE Stargirl also by this author.

  6. Emmy

    At my school we have a battle in where we have to read 6 pre-picked books in a certain time period. I have read 2 of the 6 books and LOSER is the one I am reading right now!

  7. obiwancrazy

    My group would be called the Marauders because in Harry Potter, Sirius, Remus, James, and Peter are the Marauders and they rock. Otherwise, we would be called the Awesomely Weird People or the TGC Council (inside joke, don’t ask) or something else that is quite… er, out of the ordinary.

  8. In the mist

    Ya know,I don’t have a group.I mean,I sit with “The Nerds” but hey!I really just have one bff.

  9. HeroineHiding

    I would not give my friends a name group because that makes it sound like a clique, which is totally NOT cool

  10. Abby

    We’d definitely be called the outsiders, because we’re never actually in a clique at all. We kind of hover on the outside, laughing about jokes no one else understands yet. (Ha, ha…sorry, still laughing about one from the other day!)

  11. Tori

    thats so COOL! I hop you keep reading! Here’s a good book by Jerry Spinelli ‘Maniac Magee’. Have fun reading it . Add me as your friend!

  12. fencingfrankie96

    I really loved this book when I first read it in 5th grade, just as I do today. I think it portrays the life of a child extremely well, and that this glimpse of Donald’s life is one of the most realistic portrayals that I’ve ever seen. Jerry Spinelli is and always will be one of my favorite authors.

  13. catching_fire

    My group of friends are “The Star Wars Freaks”, “The Geeks”, “The Nerds”…you get the idea.

  14. sunnydaze44

    Cool. Sounds like that kid could really keep his cool. My group of friends would be called S.M.A.C.K, which is the first letters of our names combined and is what we call ourselves.

  15. boxer4356

    Ya know what’s weird? My Mom’s freiend, Colleen, just mailed me that book. I haven’t started it… but I just finished one of Jerry Spinelli other books: Eggs! Judging by how much I liked Eggs,I think I’ll really like Loser. :) :) :)

  16. Dollar

    I read this book, and I kind of liked it but it’s a bit…well…weird. I wouldn’t recommend this to a friend, but it’s an interesting read.
    I give it 2 1/4 out of 5 stars.

  17. Angel

    I LOVED this book too! I read it with my fourth graders last year and they loved Zinkoff too! We had some really great discussions!

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