Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Who Needs Donuts?” as Want to Read:
Who Needs Donuts?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Who Needs Donuts?

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  218 ratings  ·  59 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Who Needs Donuts?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Who Needs Donuts?

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 378)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Rachel Hartman
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
Cathy J
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.
Rebecca Scala
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
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
Bev Hankins
Jun 27, 2011 Bev Hankins rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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".
Cindy Samul
My second grade teacher read this to our class and I went on to check it out of the school library dozens of times. As an adult I thought this book was lost to me forever, so I was beyond thrilled when it was reissued in 2003. It is with a deep and nearly life-long love for this book that I will boldly say it is the best picture book. My favorite then, now and always.
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
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.
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.
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.
Dawn Rutherford
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
love the illustration...
Sherry (sethurner)
The story is OK, but those black and white illustrations are fantastic!
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.
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.
lucy by the sea
This book is rad. I like it that the author is not afraid to give the main kid character some real issues and problems to deal with. I guess it comes down to greed and love and that horrible feeling when you are a kid that you just want stuff so bad and no other emotion can compete. It made me hungry for: more from this author, more big city life and ,obviously, donuts.
This staggeringly detailed, surreal story begs for repeated inspection. And maybe a magnifying glass. My favorite thing is that when you get to the end, you are back where you started in the protagonist's front yard, and the first sentence of the book is written on his sidewalk. Very "circle of life." :)

"Who needs donuts when you've got love?"
At least one of Mark Alan Stamaty's amazing kid's books is still in print. For some reason publishers today seem to only tolerate tame, sterile and homogenized kid's books. You just don't see weird, crazy, incredible books like this these days. Great for kids, but enjoyable for adults too. Buy one for you child, niece, nephew, friend's kids today
My friend Martha gave me this book for Christmas a few years back. The drawings are really neat with a lot of weird detail. This is one of those kids books where you're kind of creeped out by the adultness of some of the characters. Like Sad Old Woman. The moral of the story: Who needs donuts, when you've got love.
What a strange little book. Here's how it starts:

"Sam lived with his family in a nice house. He had a big yard and lots of friends. But he wanted donuts...finally one day he hopped on his tricycle and rode away to a big city to look for donuts."

The illustrations are a black and white version of Where's Waldo.
Amy Lou
This was a book that totally twisted and informed my visual sense as a child. So peculiar and lovely and funny. with its density of imagery, this is a book that just keeps on giving. SO glad to know it's back in print to mess with a select few of another generation!
Robert Marsh
What a marvelous book! This is my new Desert Island Book. This book can be combed through for hours, days - years! - and still hold secrets. Fan-fribblin-tastic artwork. I will share this book with everyone. Plus, it made me hungry for donuts.
This was the central defining book of my early childhood. My dad loved it, and read it to me often. A framed copy of the cover hangs in our home. Republished after copies (dog-eared, at that) were going on eBay for over $700.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Epossumondas
  • The Little Brute Family
  • Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo
  • Yoko
  • Bruno Munari's Zoo
  • I Lost My Bear
  • The Big Orange Splot
  • Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm
  • The Day the Babies Crawled Away
  • Little Polar Bear
  • Christmas in Noisy Village
  • Anno's Journey
  • Amos et Boris
  • Time for Bed, Fred!
  • A Hole is to Dig
  • Along a Long Road
  • In the Town All Year 'Round
  • The Snow Day
Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down!: How Elvis Shook Up Music, Me & Mom Minnie Maloney & Macaroni Small in the Saddle Too Many Time Machines

Share This Book