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3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,054 Ratings  ·  1,423 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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Shay Rudolph
Jun 03, 2008 Shay Rudolph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dj Sablan
Jun 11, 2010 Dj Sablan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 28, 2008 sal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  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
Manny Martinez
Oct 05, 2015 Manny Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever felt like you were a loser? The genre of "Loser" is realistic fiction because its made with fake characters but it could happen to somebody in real life. My opinion on the book is that its very good because I can relate to the book. Sometimes I can feel like a loser. So, I like it because I can relate to it.

The setting of my book is school & grades in school I know this because the story takes place in school when he was in different grades during his life.The major ev
Jenna Petrillo
Apr 09, 2016 Jenna Petrillo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book was great because it had alot of details in it.
Rebecca McNutt
Loser was kind of a sad book, still really good all the same. Though it had a few flaws like its lack of vocabulary, it still has a lot that makes it a good book, like its characters and message for readers about acceptance.
Apr 09, 2015 Anvita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that the book was very well written and had me hooked from the start. The way Spinelli contrasted Zinkoff with the rest of the world: his thoughts vs their thoughts or his actions vs their actions was very interesting and already made me start to think about humans and the way we judge. The book really made me think about what we consider normal and how the minute something or someone is different, we can't accept that change in our relatively normal lives. It also made me think about ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Logan LeDuc
Feb 26, 2016 Logan LeDuc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Full Review at

I read this book as required summer reading while going from 5th grade into 6th grade. That was 12 years ago, and I had absolutely no memory of what this book was about until I decided I ought to reread it.

I almost want to say this isn't a children's book. Reading it feels like an adult talking about the life of a child, which is true. But it also allows a young reader to really be able to insert themselves into the story and be the one the author is talkin
Jan 12, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 02, 2014 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Johanna Estrada
Book review 3
Pages 218

I really liked this book. The book was called "Loser", the author was Jerry Spinelli. Well in this book a kid named Donald Zinkoff has a tuff time growing up, he seems to do everything wrong as his peers tell him. Although he has a hard time he stands up high and proves he is not always a loser. One day he gets an A on his test and his peers started to be nice to him. Once he goes to sixth grade, a big middle school he is worst than a loser he is no on
Jan 22, 2016 Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Have you ever wondered how it feels to be much different from every other kid in your childhood? In my book Loser by Jerry Spinelli. I decided to read this book because i've read another book by Jerry Spinelli and it was a very good gook.

Loser is a book that takes you through the childhood of Donald Zinkoff, a boy that was much different from others. He has been bullied through his whole childhood for not being as smart as the other kids. Claudia a young girl who was lo
Mehdi Mohemmane
Oct 12, 2014 Mehdi Mohemmane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Landon Kintner
Mar 12, 2015 Landon Kintner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book Loser, is about a kid named Donald Zinkoff. Donald is pretty young and hipper. At the beginning of the Donald is looking forward to going to his first day of kindergarten. His mom says wait and he doesn't. He runs out with a giraffe hat and it gets stolen. When he comes home he waits for his dad and then talks their legs of about his teachers and his new friends. Throughout the book Zinkoff goes through school. Most of Donald’s teacher’s don’t like him, because he is to hipper. In Donal ...more
Donald Zinkoff wanted a regular kid, besides the fact he raises his hand and always has wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and even starts crying out in laughter over silly words. But, his 3 year old friend goes missing, Zinkoff is determined to find her through freezing winters, and falls into a deep sleep. So, a search team was sent out to find him and turns out the girl was already found. Then, Zinkoff's friends perpectives suddenly changed.. he battled a freezing snow storm all for a li ...more
Dec 21, 2014 Luvish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-comfort

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
Nov 23, 2014 James Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 15, 2015 Fouz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book so many years ago that I don't remember how I felt about it. So I re read it. I gave this book 2 stars not only because I feel like I'm way too old for this book or the merely simple plot but because the writer's style is infuriating. This is a book I'd call bland or 'under seasoned'. It lacks a flare or a feeling of involvement. The writer goes back and forth on either calling the main character by his first or last name as if he can't decide for himself. However it entertai ...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
Nov 20, 2011 Ofa Fotu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engl-420
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
Bob Berkshire
Mar 04, 2013 Bob Berkshire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2012 Brandi Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.” 61 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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