by Jerry Spinelli

Hardcover, 2002

Call number



HarperCollins (2002), Edition: 1st, 224 pages


Even though his classmates from first grade on have considered him strange and a loser, Daniel Zinkoff's optimism and exuberance and the support of his loving family do not allow him to feel that way about himself.

User reviews

LibraryThing member SandSing7
We've all met a "Stargirl" and hardened our hearts to her. We've all met a "Loser" and laughed at him behind his back. And we've never really given it a second thought...until now. Jerry Spinelli opens our eyes to how society treats those who dare to resist conformity, and makes us think twice
Show More
about the quality of the recipients of our loyalty and our admiration. Written for young adults, but adults will be touched by the sincerity of the lesson.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Runa
While I absolutely LOVE (and always have) the beginning of the book, even the middle, detailing all of Zinkoff's various childish misadventures, I've always failed to understand how that's all resolved in the end. Perhaps 'resolved' is the wrong word, after all, we wouldn't all want our favorite
Show More
Loser to turn into someone else entirely. More accurately, then, it just didn't feel like an ending. Then again, what would an appropriate ending have been, right? Zinkoff's fully comfortable with his status, it's not self-acceptance. I also would absolutely bawl if he lost his dorkyness. So I really think the only good resolution would have been Zinkoff being accepted, whether by a larger group or, more preferably, one other friend, mischief making soul mates. This actually seems to be a problem with many Spinelli books, the incompleteness. It's kind of a shame, really, considering how amazing his writing is and how well-developed the characters are. Add in some good [but missing] plot and his stories would be really near perfect, but without that essential plot, the story's really not worth reading.
Show Less
LibraryThing member kgriffith
This book had me in gasping, gut-wrenching sobs for the first half, and wondrous contemplation for the second. A simple, swift read, but one that brilliantly captures the soul of a child as he leaves the emotional safety of a loving home and comes in contact with the world around him, its cruelties
Show More
immense and looming.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Necampos
This story of a little boy named Donald Zinkoff is one that i would recommend to students to read independently, as well as in small groups. All children sometimes do not feel as they fit in or amount to what their peers think is "cool." Donald is very optomistic about life. As we follow along this
Show More
very clumsy and uncorridinated little boy, he shows kids how to have a positive attitude in life. Many situations arise where he is made fun of and left out, but Donald does not let that bother him.
I believe that students will feel better about themselves and not be put down so much after reading this story. Donals Zinkoff will show students that deep inside they are all heros instead of losers.
Show Less
LibraryThing member brittneywest
When reading this book, I felt as thought the main character Donald reminded me of Steve Urkel. He was the funny, smart one who was always wanting to save the day. However, as time goes by, his classmates begin to view him differently. I feel that this is a great book for students who may
Show More
experience situations similar just like Donald did. This book is for 3rd graders and up.
Show Less
LibraryThing member guamgirl99
HEHEHEHEHEHEHE. :] This book MAKES..ME..LAUGH! Okay, so the main character named Zinkoff. Weird name, right? Yeah. It started on Field Day, in 4th grade. "Worst Day of his life" he would put it--if he could understand that it was! He was horrible at everything. I am still reading it. Field Day is
Show More
coming up for 5th grade, and Zinkoff is doing everything he can to STAY OUT OF IT. He now figured out his nickname: "Loser". What does he think of it? Find out in Loser.
Show Less
LibraryThing member MssJos
Donald Zinkoff is a sweet kid. He's very sweet....and clumsy, and uncoordinated, and frequently wearing a large giraffe hat...and oblivious. From Zinkoff's first trifle on the playground where a bully snatches his precious giraffe hat, Zinkoff shows readers that he's not your average first grader.
Show More
He doesn't cry or whine, or even beg for his hat back, he simply smiles, assuming he had someone else's precious giraffe hat by mistake, and hands it over.

4th grade Field Day is particulary painful to watch as Zinkoff comes in last in every event, and the other kids soon have a new name for him. "Loser." Zinkoff, however, remains oblivious to the insults. It's not until a questionnaire given by a teacher asks Zinkoff, "who is your best friend" and Zinkoff realizes that he doesn't have one, that he realizes something is missing.
Field Day continues to be a problem for Zinkoff, as does frequent rejection. Throughout elementary school and into 6th grade, Zinkoff remains, for the most, part friendless. It is not until a little girl, who lives near him goes missing that everyone sees Zinkoff's true abilities, and soon after "Loser" is replaced with "Hero."
Show Less
LibraryThing member kbell12
This is the story of Donald Zinkoff. As you follow Zinkoff through his school years, you learn much about him. He is a sweet boy, who loves life. He is very much an outcast at his school. More kids make fun of him than are nice to him. Although Donald is clumsy and never seems to do anything right,
Show More
he is happy and doesn't realize that others are constantly putting him down.
I liked this story and feel that this is a great book for kids to read if they feel like they don't belong or if they are being bullied. I thought the beginning of the story was exciting. I was interested in reading to find out what Zinkoff was going to encounter next. The book tends to slow down about half way through. The plot becomes less exciting and the ending was not that great.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mcivalleri
This is a good book about self-image. As teens deal with their peers, and the inevitable criticisms they get, and the fears they deal with, they could use a book like this to expore the issues, but at the expense of a fictional character. The kind heart of the boy is also a good benchmark for
Show More
students to live up to. While I was never labeled a "loser" or even kept out of any groups, I still grew a little "different" than most other people, and have had to deal with that my whole life. Maybe if I had read this book back then, it would have made that journey a little easier! I'd recommend this book for a school library.
Show Less
LibraryThing member nastad
I don't like this book. It is really random and not the best book. I would not recommend it!
LibraryThing member youngcheesy
this was a good book. I like how they made Zinkoff be the type of person that dosen't care what people think of him. I know alot people like that. That would be all over the place but knowone seems to noice maybe until someone saids he/her name, and you know who they are talking about right away.
LibraryThing member anneofia
Meet Donald Zinkoff, just an ordinary kid! Author Jerry Spinelli gives his readers a privileged peek into the life of this delightfully unique, yet entirely normal little boy, from his rambunctious preschool days until the time when he has graduated from elementary school and is in the first weeks
Show More
of middle school. The characterization of the Zinkoff family is excellent! In just a couple hundred pages, the author makes you feel like you have known Donald (or someone like him) all your life. Although his parents and sister stay in the background, I rejoiced for Zinkoff over his marvelous family life. It was an obvious influence for the good over his checkered school career. I hated to say good bye when the story ended.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Ferg-o
Donald Zinkoff is passing through school and he is being called a loser. This is a very heartwarming goodhearted book and it is very funny, and sometimes can be sad.(but not really.)
LibraryThing member Tylerballer5
I really liked this book because,it was very funny my favorite part was when Zinkoff made his new neighbor Andrew a cookie.And he brought it to his house and Andrew wouldn't come out because he didn't want too move.Last my other favorite was when Zinkoff was taking the test and he got stuck on 1
Show More
question that said who was his best friend and he put Binns.Then at recess he went over to Binns and he was digging in his ear with a paper clip and he got some ear wax out and took out an empty boddle of medicene and it had been half way filled up with ear way.Then, Zinkoff asks him what does he have it for and Binns says for a condle.....................
Show Less
LibraryThing member aheksch
This book is about a boys called Edward and Jessy! Edward is a new boy in the street and he all ready got a friend. One day Edward get mad for someone and he isn't coming out of his room!
LibraryThing member caro488
Spinelli, Jerry, The Loser, kid is very focused, very persistent, even though others think he's a loser
LibraryThing member Warnerp
Spinelli explores what it's like for a kid to get labeled loser and how he reacts to it.
LibraryThing member frances2791
We have all known a quirky kid, the kid that doesn't quite get it, at first he is annoying but if you have heart you realize that his aloofness is not intentional. This is a great book to experience what its like to be that quirky kid. I work with these great kids and this book reminded me of so
Show More
many of them. The ending is exceptional, I want to write about it sooooooo bad but I wont ruin it for you.
Show Less
LibraryThing member HaileyPetsche45
I think this book could be a little more interesting but it still is fun to read and it kills time to read a book about someone dealing with lfe how thay deal with it and what happens during that time.
LibraryThing member shelf-employed
Jerry Spinelli has a very direct style of writing,

"At exactly 10 A.M. Zinkoff bursts onto the playground with the other Satterfield first-, second- and third-graders. For the first minute he is disappointed. He expected recess to be something different, something new. It turns out to be simply free
Show More
time. Recess turns out to be just another name for life as he has always known it. Only shorter. His first recess lasted six years. This one is fifteen minutes. He means to make the most of it."

After I got used to his unadorned, yet compelling prose, I realized how perfect it is for a story about a boy, Zinkoff, who is also simple, direct, unadorned and compelling. Zinkoff is the perfect hero. What may pass for simpleness to others is actually a buoyant, positive and uncomplicated disposition. No matter what befalls the sometimes hapless Zinkoff, he is never beaten - never the "loser," no matter what others may think.

Loser follows Zinkoff from his first day of school through his graduation from middle school with all the usual trials and tribulations that occur in grade school.

Reading Loser, the reader can almost remember the first feeling of freedom that comes with being at school away from family and the first feeling of sadness in realizing that children are not always kind. When the children begin to discover that Zinkoff is perhaps not as smart or as athletically gifted as other students Spinelli writes, "as with all discoveries, it is the eye and not the object that changes." How true.

Later, when Zinkoff befriends a toddler in the neighborhood, he comes to a conclusion,

"and Zinkoff saw in that moment something that he had no words for. He saw that a kid runs to be found and jumps to be caught. That's what being a kid is: found, caught,"

simple, yet profound.

I found myself rooting for Zinkoff every step of the way and he did not disappoint me. It is an honest story, one in which the hero can also be a misfit. I would recommend this book for boys from 4th to 6th grade.
Show Less
LibraryThing member GG18
I find this book funny because of the things zinkoff the main person in the book does.This book was about a kid starting off in the first grade and was getting bullied because of a weired looking hat and his bad hand writing and other tings like that.And one day it is take your kid to work day and
Show More
zinkoff's dad is a mailman and it was a sunday and there was not any mail on sundays so zinkoff just writes letters to give to people and on his way they stopped to have lunch and he wanted to be brave like his dad and go through stormes and things and then before you know it the day is over and zinkoff thought his life was over.The next day there was a P.E. day/race day and he was relly exited and when it was his turn he raced and finished in last place.And that is when evreyone started calling him a loser.Will they ever stop?i dont know read the book and find out.
Show Less
LibraryThing member laurenwhite92
The title of the book really sums up what the essence of the theme is really about. We know that Donald has been labeled as a loser by his peers, but we really get a chance to exampin what exactly qualifies him as a loser and if it is a fitting label or not.
LibraryThing member tiger417
loser was a very interesting book.i would recomend it to someone who likes funny books.my favorite part was when he passed out in the snow.
LibraryThing member cfranson
Loser is a story about a boy named Donald Zinkhoff from kindergarten to sixth grade. Donald is different but he doesn’t know he is different. He laughs hilariously at words like jabib and doesn’t make friends. He offends people without knowing it and does not do well in school. Donald is kind
Show More
and giving. This book dragged me in and I couldn’t stop reading. It’s writing style is different but is perfectly done for the story. Donald goes through so much, unjust and mean teachers and kind teachers, being picked on by other children but also lives in the most loving and supportive family. This book will also make a great read aloud.
Show Less
LibraryThing member hotchk155
This book follows Donald Zinkoff through primary school (if I am understanding this US grade system properly..)

Zinkoff is identified as a loser, but really he is just a clumsy, over-enthusiastic kid whose failing is to always see the best in people.

As the school years pass by, he becomes the
Show More
class loser, the butt of jokes, but the thing about Zinkoff is that he is impervious to it all - he doesn't even notice, he's still seeing the best in everyone. He just stumbles on, being himself right through.

Its a sweet and heartwarming book, very funny at times and sad at others (actually never that sad since Zinkoff is always happy - whatever unkindnesses directed at him that he's just failed to notice)

Its one of those small books with big print, short sentences and chapters that are just a couple of pages long. So it's a quick read - but that is just about right really - I think any more would be too much. I enjoyed it.
Show Less


Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2005)
Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award (First runner-up — 2004)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 2005)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — Grades 4-8 — 2005)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2004)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2005)
Sasquatch Book Award (Nominee — 2005)
William Allen White Children's Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2004-2005)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2005)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2005)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Nominee — Middle School — 2005)
Maine Student Book Award (Winner — 2004)




0439457939 / 9780439457934
Page: 0.859 seconds