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. rock255

    Me and my friends don’t really have a name we just kind of in the middle were not popular but we not geeks were just there

  2. Grandesong

    We definitely wouldn’t be the Pops, or the Geeks, or anything like that. We could be called the Flock, because we all love Maximum Ride. We cold also be called the Smart/Pops, but thats not very creative.

  3. percyj99

    We’re proudly called the DORKS.
    PERCY JACKSON (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), HARRY POTTER (Harry Potter),GREG HEFFLEY (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), DONALD ZINKOFF (Loser), and ARTHUR PENHALIGON (The Keys to the Kingdom) are DA BEST!!!

  4. percyj99

    They file by. Some whisper the word. Some say it aloud. Each pronounces it perfectly.
    - p.107

  5. Brian

    I never read this book. Is it about a chold who never had friend’s and he did all of these weierd thing’s
    but then he got a friend that was cool and then they called him a loser but he doesn’t care that much?

  6. ashlyn

    Ah! i LOVE this book! Ive read it like 6 times! I love how you can just totally see it all in your mind. Amazing work! :) ! BTW I consider myself part of no group or clique. I also think its wrong to disclude people that way. Dont stick to a few friends. Be everyones friend :D

  7. kellbel98

    we would be called ” the wierdos”!!! but not always bad!!!! lol and we know how to keep secrets so its not all bad!

  8. BaconB

    I read this book, I liked it, but, it was a bit odd. And it made me so sad, too, thinking about how mean people could be.

  9. cocobear08

    My group of friends would be called…. probably the junior pops. Or maybe the almost pops. But most likely the funny pops!!! There’s like a million people in the group. I lost count because I’m in the funny pops in like every period of the school day.

  10. Nathan

    I have not read this book yet if you think it’s good, comment back. Because I don’t wanna read it if it’s a bunch of junk. Nobody wants to read junk, so please comment if you think it’s worth reading.

  11. david

    We were called “the nerds” To be come a “nerd” answer the following questions
    1.Do you like pasta?
    2.Are you consitered cool?
    3.Are you popular?
    4.Are you smart?
    if answered no or a little bit to any of these you are a
    half and half (part nerd part normal

  12. aliciaurbestie

    the popular group in my skool is me, aiden (aidencagebffls is her user name), kira (kira123 is hers), cage (cageaidenbffls),shana, lili (lilibfflsyea), n kayla (kayladancer) we all have 1 cause the teachers 4 language arts

  13. CuddlyPanda_

    My friends would be called the in the middles. Cuz I am friends with the pops and the unpops
    I give this book a total 5.0

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. HeroineHiding

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

  23. 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!)

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. catching_fire

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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. :) :) :)

  29. 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.

  30. 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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