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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  12,389 ratings  ·  1,266 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Loser, by Newbery Medal–winning author Jerry Spinelli, is a powerful tale about a young boy whose contagious joie de vivre outshines his endless stream of gaffes. Simply put, it s a sure winner. From his first day at school, Donald Zinkoff stands out from the crowd. Not only does he giggle uncontrollably and wear a goofy giraffe hat, he actuall
Paperback, 218 pages
Published 2003 by Scholastic (first published May 1st 2002)
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Wulf I'm not sure what your question is, man. The whole book goes from Donald Zinkoff in First Grade to him in Fifth Grade. So you must be talking about…moreI'm not sure what your question is, man. The whole book goes from Donald Zinkoff in First Grade to him in Fifth Grade. So you must be talking about Third Grade? Because when he's in Third Grade, I believe he gets that surgery to fix his stomach valve. And then he puts himself through all these tests because he's so bored and every time tries to leave the house, the baby Polly cries and his mom catches him. So he tries to test himself with the darkness in his basement.

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Community Reviews

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This is just totally excellent and beautiful. Donald Zinkoff is a really special kid. He doesn't "get" other kids, really, but most of the time he has so much fun with his life that it doesn't really matter. He laughs so hard at words that he thinks are funny that he falls out of his chair and can't breathe. On the first day of every school year, he wants to know how many days of school are left until he graduates from highschool -- not because he can't wait to get out, but because he luxuriates ...more
Dj Sablan
I was in the in the 5th or 6th grade when I decided to read this book and read it in one day. I had friends that recommended me this book and told me that the story was great and I should read it too. So I did, but came up with nothing. Not that the book was entirely terrible, but I just could not see what everyone else did. Although I read it in a matter of hours, I did not enjoy one bit of the book. For the most part, I didn't really care. No I am not heartless, but this story had no aim. The ...more
Shay Rudolph
Do we ever relise what really makes a person a loser or a geek. well i don't know about everyone but i know that i have judged before i even knew what that person was all about. Sometimes the biggest loser in your class can be your best friend. I mean we all try to be what other people want us to be instead of being faithfull to outselves. When it get's to that point we don't think of it as changing we think of it as a life style. that what this book is about seeing that when you change yourself ...more
With a name like LOSER, I really expected to hate this book and feel sorry for the main character throughout the entire story.
The story is written with an omniscient narrator, and even though the plot could focus on the kids that teased Zinkoff, it focuses on Zinkoff's positive attitudes despite his peers, instead.
My favorite chapter was about Zinkoff's day shadowing his father in his job as a mailman. He was so happy to get to deliver the mail... it was so cute!
I'm reading this book with my a
Huda Aweys
zinkoff, The dreamer and simply boy I love him and,
It is realy good book for the bedtime day after day to the children :)
Intial reaction is the book was disappointing. I read this after reading Schooled by Korman which also was very dissappointing so that could have affected my reaction to this book.

Frist off this book is a character study and I perfer books with plot. The book also like Schooled is about a character who is above the negative opinions of his classmates. In fact like Schooled Don Zinkoff seems is clueless that he is being teased.

Loser is slightly better than Schooled in that the teasing is not as
Mar 06, 2008 Colleen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids, parents, educators
Shelves: juv-literature
I saw this book in the Scholastic book magazine and did not select it for reading due to the perceived angst I might feel over some mean kids and pitiful character that is bullied. I have a big aversion to the nasty use of "you're a loser" as I feel everyone has something special to contribute. Those that use "loser" to define another are the losers themselves as they are breeding ground for nastiness, exclusion, anger, hate, and hopelessness.

However, my son was assigned the book to read at scho
Zinkoff is a weird kid. Lovable, but weird. Special but weird. And you just know that the when the real world catches up with him and the disillusionment sets in it will be heart wrenching and yet...

This is an amazing book. Somehow you can see that the plot is balanced on a knife-edge and despite a certain "magical realism" feel, you just dread that it will take that precipitous drop into the maudlin and yet, somehow this irrepressible kid just keeps tooling along.

A great read. If only it could
Main character
Zinkcoff-I think zinkcoff is wild child he is always n trouble or heading for it. When he is in school he has a problem with laughing he always laugh. When he sis laughing he falls on the floor and laugh for a long time. Also he is out going he is smiling. But he has a disease that makes him throw up when he does he throws up I the closest thing he can.
Dad- the reason I call him dad id because he doesn’t have a name other than this book the reason I am telling you about him id be
I thought this book was actually really good because I felt like I connected with the main character, Donald Zinkoff. You get to know his story from when he was a little kid to about 6th Grade I think. He does have difficulties in life, like he's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Donald Zinkoff wanted to stand out and be loved by everyone. Even if he wasn't popular and even if he had some enemies, he never noticed that. He always thought everyone liked him and he was friends with ever
Mehdi Mohemmane
I found that the first pages that I have read are kind of boring for several reasons. The first reason why I found it a bit boring is because the main character’s life Donald is so boring. Donald’s life is so boring because it is the first days of school, he does not have friends, he has the same program every day which is go to school, come home, go to school come home. The second reason why the first pages of the book are boring is because there is no conflict, no objective, and just three cha ...more

The language used in this book may not be complex, but this book communicates it’s ideas and themes very effectively. This was the second Jerry Spinelli book I read. I already read Stargirl and there are a few similarities between these books. The themes were more or less the same as he included self confidence, being different etc. Still, the plot managed to keep me interested throughout the book. I was able to understand the main character Zinkoff better than I understood Stargirl since he was
James Lee
This is an excellent story of the childhood of a socially awkward boy, Zinkoff, who is constantly bullied and picked on. This is a great story to read if you would just like to read something nice bs short. That is actually a problem for me because I believe that the story is a little too short. It will not take you more than a few days or less to finish this book. This book shows the true hardships that social outcasts face, and the type of people that they encounter and meet. It is such an int ...more
Rita  Radhi
Friday, October 10, 2014

In the story, the writer, Jerry Spinelli, describes the life of a young boy named Zinkoff from first grade to his beginnings in middle school. The pride and happiness this child seems to feel from everything he does is extraordinary, he always seems to find the good in the worst. For instance, when Zinkoff was delivering the mail with his father, a boy criticized his work, but he guilelessly replied by a pleasant, “Nice to meet you” (Spinelli 69). Furthermore, even if he
Heidi Solchenberger
I enjoyed “Loser” by Jerry Spinelli , because it deals with a boy that has problems and he tries to fix it but sometime he just faces his fears. One day he tries to go down in the basement to see what kind of monster is down there. He also got stitches and he had to stay home from school and he likes to laugh so much and say yahoo when he does in school. When he get his stitches out the scar is going to be there for a long time. Every time he eats he throws up and he cant help that he had stitch ...more
Ofa Fotu
This book was very much like Star girl in themes. It addresses a child growing up "different" from everyone else. He is more sincere, he cares about people, he is bad at sports and school, but he has a passion for life. The novel explores child politics --> human psychology in stratifying from even a very young age. It talks about the power of a good teacher and about people living on the periferal of life (small children and old people - (an old man waiting for his brother to come back from ...more
This was my third book by Jerry Spenelli, the first ones were Stargirl and Love Stargirl. I had immediately liked the writer in the first two books; his writing style was simple, yet astonishly magical. Jerry Spenelli writes for children and juveniles, actually--his target audience are those in middle grade--yet teenagers, young adults, and adults could totally enjoy reading his books.

So Loser is basically about Donald Zinkoff, which is an exceptional and special kid. Since he was young, Zinkoff
Bob Berkshire
Loser is an interesting book, about the life of a boy named Donald Zinkoff, an unusual kid that seems to live in his own world. The book goes from his first grade life to his sixth, all of which seem to have him as an odd, average student.

What makes the character so endearing is that how he dwells in his own oddity. He loves going to school, he wants to become a mailman after his own father, being bad at sports, and an odd happy demeanor. Despite not having any friends, maybe this is what makes
This is a really sweet story about a kid named Donald Zinkoff as he maneuvers his way through the years at school from kindergarten through the end of fifth grade. Zinkoff's parents raised him if not necessarily encouraging his eccentricities then at least tolerating them. This has resulted in Zinkoff being pretty much oblivious to the teasing he gets from the other kids once he goes to school. I don't want to go into any detail because you really should just experience all of Zinkoff for yourse ...more
Brandi Smith
This work of contemporary realistic fiction is intended for children ages 12-18(A). It received the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award and the Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award in 2004. It is the story of David Zinkoff, considered a loser by many of his peers, but actually one of the kindest, most gracious, and optimistic kids one could ever meet.
I gave this book 3 stars. It is a classic underdog tale, heartwarming and inspiring. David gets bad grades. He is, at times, disruptiv
In Loser, Jerry Spinelli introduces us to Donald Zinkoff. He's that off beat kid who does weird things like laughs to long and to loud at silly things like the word "jabib." At first the other students don't seem to mind or even notice, but as they get older they realize Zinkoff is different. The wonderful thing is that Zinkoff never seems to notice, he's a "loser," a "leftover who won't go away," and you may find yourself rooting for him along the way.
Zinkoff reminded me of a particular boy in
I had mild hopes for this book. Think about it, how many of you felt like this one time or another? I had read Mr. Spinelli's Stargirl, this lead me to believe that his books are all about being an outsider and standing up for yourself. I dont mind these types of books. This book by far was one of the slowest paced books I have ever read, but the book made me think of three things;
1. Is this book even possible to be true?
2. How many pages are left?
3. Doesn't Donald Zinkoff remind you of Forrest
This is a young-adult novel, aimed primarily to middle-school students. It's a happy-sad story about a youngster who has trouble fitting in. He's got a big heart and he's so innocent and naive, but most of his classmates have nothing to do with him. He has two teachers that he adores but other than his family, he's lonesome. While most of his peers view him as a "loser," the youngster remains undaunted in his endeavor to be accepted. As a parent, I found parts of the novel to be very heart-break ...more
Tori Williford
I truly enjoyed reading “Loser” by Jerry Spinelli. This young adult realistic fiction novel tells the story of Donald Zinkoff, a boy who just loves life and even loves learning but doesn’t quite fit in, a “loser” as some would call him. Through the cruel comments and actions of other children and even teachers, Zinkoff never loses his positive outlook on life. With the title being, “Loser”, I feared I would be reading a sad tale with the character being a victim but quickly realized he is one h ...more
John Gomez
This was a good and easy book to read. it didn't have a lot of action, but still was enjoyable to read and kept you wanting to read more. Zinkoff is the main character. The story starts when he starts kindergarten. It tells his story from kindergarten to the beginning of sixth grade. He is very energetic and laughs a lot. He always wants to get to school early and tries a lot at school. He may try a lot but he is not very successful. He has sloppy handwriting and can never do anything correct, ...more
When I read the first two chapters of this book, I was very tempted to put it down. I don’t know what exactly caused me to feel this way, but I’m assuming it was the incredibly short chapters and somewhat boring, unexciting content. However, I knew I couldn’t judge a book by its first few chapters, so I continued on. And I’m glad I did.

Loser is about Donald Zinkoff and the first 6 years of his life. And I must admit, he is a unique, amazing character. Although Zinkoff is described as an invisibl
This review is full of spoilers that I am too lazy to put in a spoiler box so only read if you are willing to take the risk.

Zinkoff is indeed a weird but goodhearted kid. He sees a world where everything is nice and fluffy. It's not a bad thing but if a kid like Zinkoff does exist, I'll be worried for this kid's future. Zinkoff is too clueless and too innocent that I'm afraid of all the bad things that the world would throw at him in the future. I just want to hug this kid and tell him how much
Krista Stevens
Read in Lisa's Grade 5 class as a read-aloud.

Spinelli captures the fascinating world of boys in the pithiest sentence of almost any YA author I have read. Fifth graders, " something: They love winning more than losing. They love winning. They love winning so much that they find new ways to do it:

Who can hit the telephone pole with a stone
Who can eat the most cupcakes?
Who can go to the bed the latest..."

Our young protagonist, Zinkoff, doesn't win at anything. He's uncoordinated, unaw
Jaymie Christensen
Loser tells the story of a boy named Zinkoff, who has always been a little different, from 1st grade to 6th grade. He begins quarky and overly-excited and happy about school, but the kids aren’t at a point where they know to make fun of him for it yet. As he gets older, kids begin getting more critical of each other, as they will do, and because Zinkoff is always eager to participate and try new things, he begins getting made fun of for the times when he fails. Being utterly unaware of his ‘diff ...more

To start, every classroom has that one bully that you don't like. I really enjoyed this book of realistic ficton because it is funny and it had a good outcome. In my opinion, Zinkoff is a nice kid who gets bullied by the big kid at school.

In this book, everyone thinks Zinkoff is a clumsy nerd, but in the end he proves them wrong. After being made fun of for so long, Zinkoff turns his reputation around. First, Zinkoff is smarter than everyone in his class. Next, Zinkoff is so c
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his
More about Jerry Spinelli...
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“Best friends are always together, always whispering and laughing and running, always at each other's house, having dinner, sleeping over. They are practically adopted by each other's parents. You can't pry them apart.” 57 likes
“Because that's what you do, you stand up for your best friend. And you eat lunch with him and talk with him and share secrets and laugh a lot and go places and do stuff, and when you wake up in the morning, he's the first person you think of.” 54 likes
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