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Loser by [Jerry Spinelli]
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Loser Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 843 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Donald Zinkoff is one of the greatest kids you could ever hope to meet. He laughs easily, he likes people, he loves school, he tries to rescue lost girls in blizzards, he talks to old ladies. The only problem is, he's a loser. Until fourth grade, Zinkoff's uncontrollable giggling in class, sloppy handwriting, horrible flute playing, bad grades, clumsiness, and ineptitude at sports go largely unnoticed. When he blows a race for his team, however, his transition to loserdom is complete: "[Loser] is the word. It is Zinkoff's new name. It is not in the roll book." Fortunately, he doesn't really notice. As he did in Stargirl, Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli again explores the cruelty of a student body and how it does and doesn't affect one student, pure of spirit. Presumably if Loser makes one child view a "different kid" as a three-dimensional character, Spinelli will consider his book successful.

The author recounts Zinkoff's story--a case study of sorts--in short sentences from a deliberately reportorial point of view, documenting the first years of the boy's life and his evolution into a loser. What makes the book charming and buoyant is that the reader, like Zinkoff's parents and his favorite teacher, appreciates the boy's oblivious joie de vivre and his divine quirks. What is less compelling about the novel is the "let this be a lesson to us" heavy-handedness that accompanies the reportorial approach. Still, Spinelli comes through again with a lively, often moving story with humor and heart to spare. (Ages 8 to 12) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

From AudioFile

Meet Donald Zinkoff. He loves school and snickerdoodles. He wants to grow up to be a mailman, just like his dad, and he never notices when he "loses." Listeners follow Donald's life from first through sixth grade. He has a zest for life that some find endearing and others just plain odd. Steve Buscemi's performance provides a feeling of familiarity with the Zinkoff family. His low, mellow tones and laid-back reading make for a comfortable listening experience. Characters are undifferentiated vocally, but that isn't necessary here. Because of Spinelli's writing and Buscemi's reading, listeners will find Donald Zinkoff enchanting. J.M.P. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0014H32FI
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperCollins; Reprint edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 13, 2009
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2022 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 228 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 843 ratings

About the author

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Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.

One night during high school, Spinelli watched the football team win an exciting game against one of the best teams in the country. While everyone else rode about town tooting horns in celebration, Spinelli went home and wrote "Goal to Go," a poem about the game's defining moment, a goal-line stand. His father submitted the poem to the Norristown Times-Herald and it was featured in the middle of the sports page a few days later. He then traded in his baseball bat for a pencil, because he knew that he wanted to become a writer.

After graduating from Gettysburg College with an English degree, Spinelli worked full time as a magazine editor. Every day on his lunch hour, he would close his office door and craft novels on yellow magazine copy paper. He wrote four adult novels in 12 years of lunchtime writing, but none of these were accepted for publication. When he submitted a fifth novel about a 13-year-old boy, adult publishers once again rejected his work, but children's publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of children's books.

Spinelli's hilarious books entertain both children and young adults. Readers see his life in his autobiography Knots in My Yo-Yo String, as well as in his fiction. Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home state of Pennsylvania in a book, while Maniac Magee is set in a fictional town based on his own hometown.

When asked if he does research for his writing, Spinelli says: "The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I seldom plow through books at the library to gather material. Yes, in the sense that the first 15 years of my life turned out to be one big research project. I thought I was simply growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania; looking back now I can see that I was also gathering material that would one day find its way into my books."

On inspiration, the author says: "Ideas come from ordinary, everyday life. And from imagination. And from feelings. And from memories. Memories of dust in my sneakers and humming whitewalls down a hill called Monkey."

Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow writer, Eileen, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While they write in separate rooms of the house, the couple edits and celebrates one another's work. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
843 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

cmcd
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2017
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Busy mum
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to make you think & look at the world in a different way.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2014
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Devon Nana
3.0 out of 5 stars I had read Stargirl and really enjoyed it, but Loser was a much less realized ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 15, 2014
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Najoua Ayed
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon un excellent service avec un petit prix
Reviewed in Canada on December 2, 2018
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Vikonline
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome!
Reviewed in India on January 9, 2021
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