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Who Needs Donuts?
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Who Needs Donuts?

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  275 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Sam’s love of donuts takes him to the Big City where he makes friends with Mr. Bikferd, a world class collector of donuts. But when Mr. Bikferd falls in love with Pretzel Annie, the prophecy of an old homeless woman comes true: “Who needs donuts when you’ve got love?” Mr. Bikferd bequeaths his donut collection to Sam, who uses it to save the old homeless woman from drownin ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 23rd 2003 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1973)
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(showing 1-30 of 491)
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This book is SO WEIRD yet it is SO WONDERFUL.

Our story begins with Sam sitting out in his front yard. He lives in a nice house with a big yard. He has lots of friends. Sounds like Sam’s life is pretty good, right? WRONG! Sam more than ANYTHING wants DONUTS. And not just one donut to eat now and one to eat later. He wants hundreds and thousands and MILLIONS of donuts! Sam’s folks unfortunately can’t just buy him a bazillion donuts — who has that kind of money?! So Sam hops on his tricycle and ped
Rachel Hartman
Apr 21, 2012 Rachel Hartman rated it it was amazing
I think my long-enduring passion for this book pretty much says everything there is to say about me. If you've never seen it before, well. It is the trippiest piece of work ever created. There are elephant-headed birds, cars coming out of people's ears, infinitesimally tiny (and hilarious) words in all the pictures, and just about the most Dada storyline imaginable.

When I was a kid, this was THE book. I would have married it, but that still isn't legal in Kentucky. I lost track of it for many ye
Lisa Vegan
Jul 03, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
Wow! I’ve never seen a book quite like this. It’s exceptional.

For a thorough and conscientious reader, it could take as long to read this short picture book as it would to read a novel.

The illustrations (black ink pen?) are incredibly and unbelievably detailed. They’re completely unique and can provide hours of fun. They’re often very funny. The dog with shoes is a riot, but it’s impossible to single out one or even dozens of examples. There are lots of words (on signs, etc.) within the illustra
Sep 15, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, childrens
Poor Sam. He had it all: a nice home, friends and family but he wanted more, lots more, he actual wants millions of donuts. What does Sam do? He hops on his tricycle and goes to the city to find them. You have to love the illustrations in the book. The attention to detail in the illustrations will keep you busy for hours checking out the people and the scenery that you just might forget to actually read the story. Illustrated in black-in-white, your eyes are constantly marveling at everything in ...more
Jun 27, 2011 Bev rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes good children's books
Recommended to Bev by: Richard
Shelves: childrens
Who Needs Donuts? is an absolutely delightful children's book by Mark Alan Stamaty (both story & pictures). I have no idea how I missed this one growing up. And only discovered it now thanks to my good friend Richard. In a conversation that started with the closing of H&H Bagels in NYC, we wound our way 'round to Who Needs Donuts. Richard was amazed that I'd not heard of this book. I managed to lay my hands on it (thanks to a deal with Amazon), have it delivered today and whizzed through ...more
Nov 16, 2011 Zack rated it it was amazing
A completely insane and a half children's book. Predating the style of WHERE'S WALDO, it's a simple-but-touching tale of a young boy dressed like a cowboy who wants millions and millions of donuts, but learns that caring about other people is more important.

The story takes two minutes to read; the illustrations take about 12 hours to dissect, if you're lucky. Stamaty fills every square inch of every page with gags and gags within gags. Birds with horse and elephant heads fly about; a restaurant
Aug 18, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
So, so cool. Kind of psychedelic, tres seventies (it was originally published in 1973.) Although I shelved this a children's lit its fans are far more likely to be of the Woodstock-era and those currently residing in Colorado or Washington. Though I am not of the "Wow, dude," crowd there was something appealing and familiar about the Very intricate illustrations and hidden text in this picture book.
Rebecca Scala
Jan 12, 2014 Rebecca Scala rated it it was amazing
As an adult reader I love this book for its absurdist humor, inventiveness, and painstakingly intricate illustrations. My kids also love it but be forewarned that the protagonist is lured by a stranger into an abandoned building with the promise of donuts so some discussion of strangers and personal safety is required if you are reading it to children. I'm still giving this book all five stars because it is such an enjoyable multiple-sitting book that rewards the reader every time with fresh, fu ...more
Valerie Ang
Apr 17, 2016 Valerie Ang rated it it was amazing
I found this book on a ledge at the Glazed Donut shop in Key West, Florida, and one strawberry shortcake donut, black coffee, and story later... I left my heart there and need to go back for it.
Jan 06, 2011 Camille rated it it was amazing
I can't put into words what I think of this book. It was a gift from my brother for my 5th birthday. At the time, the book was out of print, so he photocopied a friend's copy for me, and bound it in paisley fabric. I colored in the pages for years. You could own this book your whole life, and still find new details every time through. It really captures the chaos of new york.
Sep 21, 2009 Natalie rated it it was amazing
This definitely goes on the shelf with the far out picture books. It's a little cracked out, so not so much for the kiddos this one, but I dig it's weird story and comic style tableaux.
Jul 22, 2014 Lorna rated it liked it
From 1973. Ok, a terrifically odd story, but the super detailed pen and ink illustrations are amazing. Kids could spend hours finding all the funny hidden items and details.
Cathy J
Oct 14, 2014 Cathy J rated it did not like it
I love donuts, but kids should not run away to the big city and follow strangers into dark warehouses - even with the promise of donuts.
May 24, 2011 Anne rated it it was ok
Truly one of the weirdest picture books I have ever read.
Dec 06, 2014 Bonnie rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
An unusual story made in the early 70s. I have a very strong feeling the author & artist were "high". This is the ONLY explanation I could come up with for someone wanting to collect mountains of donuts. IF it was written 10-20 yrs later than I might've suspected that a certain friend of mine with the initials JLB, wrote it. The artwork is neat it's sort of the a "Search & Find".
Jul 31, 2014 Sheri rated it did not like it
We've had this book on our 'to read' list for so long based on a recommendation in a must read list, and it was a big disappointment. Maybe my daughter (5yrs ) is still to young for it? We were both overwhelmed (in a bad way) and confused. I wanted to like it, but the illustrations just weren't for me. Maybe I'll warm up to it with a second read.
Bill Lancaster
May 04, 2014 Bill Lancaster rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
I don't normally read children's books, but I saw this on a shelf at Small World Books in Venice, California and was instantly taken with the intricate and witty black and white, pen and ink illustrations. They are marvelously intricate and detailed and often surreal. And a wonderful little story accompanies these amazing drawings.
Jan 07, 2015 Daisy rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-youth
This story is kind of lame but the illustrations, not pretty, are wild. You will never see everything in this book. You will look at it over and over and over and there will always be something you've never noticed before. I found myself reading many of the signs and lettered decorations before even looking at all. the. faces. Just: wow. So 70s.
And donuts.
May 18, 2009 Emmy rated it it was amazing
Sam lives in a house with a big yard and has lots of friends but what he doesn't have is donuts - and that is what he truly wants. He sets out for the city in search of donuts where he meets Mr. Bikferd, a man with a wagon full of donuts. Together they walk the streets in search of donuts. When Mr. Bikferd falls in love with Pretzel Annie, Sam is left in charge of the donuts. Sam saves an old woman with his donuts and learns that you don't need donuts when you've got love.

Originally published in
Tanya (mom's small victories)
loved the illustrations and looking at all the detailed artwork. story was ok but kids enjoyed finding donuts and looking at strange creatures artist created.
Jun 20, 2014 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Lots of people love this book. I, on the other hand, do not get its appeal. I think Mark Alan Stamaty was on an acid trip when he created it.
Jan 03, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
A picture book that should be re read as an adult. Amusing messages on signs that younger readers won't get. Fun.
Oct 16, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
What an odd book. You can tell it was written and illustrated in the '70s.
Dawn Rutherford
Jun 04, 2014 Dawn Rutherford rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This may be one of the weirdest picture books I've ever read.
This book is like Where's Waldo. It may not be a book you share with your whole class but it's a book that will always be in the hands of one of your students. The illustrations are so engaging and there is so much to look at and to find that a child could be lost in it for weeks without exhausting the pictures of things to find. The story is a simple story of a child setting out in search of something only to realize he's loved at home. I sat with this book for about 30 minutes just pouring ove ...more
Jul 15, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
love the illustration...
Sherry (sethurner)
The story is OK, but those black and white illustrations are fantastic!
Jul 06, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Most wonderfully bizarro children's book ever. Catherine received it from her aunt for her birthday and both kids have been clamoring for me to read it and staring at the exceptionally-intricate illustrations ever since. I am dying to know what other people think the "donuts" represent. Idols? Higher education? Materialism? Wealth? And how it seems to start over again at the end? Still thinking about this book.
Sep 07, 2012 Jenyoseph rated it it was amazing
I read a lot of library books to my kids which I don't bother adding to the Goodreads shelves, but I wanted to comment on the one we read tonight. This book is INCREDIBLE. We spent a good five minutes on each page and I'm sure tomorrow we'll be looking through it again. The amount of detail and thought that went into the illustrations is overwhelming. Good moral, too. This is one I'll need to own.
Aug 06, 2011 Alan added it
Read this book to Ethan before he was 2. Took it out of the library. 25 years later, walking down the street in Oberlin, saw it in the window. This is one of the most visually amazing books ever drawn. Every square millimeter is filled with interesting things, from little animals among the blades of grass, to his hobby horse drinking from a puddle. You have to see this book to believe it.
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