Loser by Jerry Spinelli

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 7 Critic Reviews



From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes an incredible story about how not fitting in might just lead to an incredible life.

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip." Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."

With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade—making this a perfect classroom read—and watch his character develop, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs.

Supports the Common Core State Standards


About Jerry Spinelli

See more books from this Author
Jerry Spinelli won the Newbery Medal in 1991 for Maniac Magee, one of his more than 25 acclaimed books for young readers. He now lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Eileen Spinelli, who is also an author of children's books.
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins. 234 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Comics & Graphic Novels. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Loser

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Following Zinkoff from his very first foray into the front yard to middle-school sixth grade, the author of Crash (1996) and Stargirl (2000) once again provides such a steady look at a marginalized child that readers will see past limiting social categories or awkward outsides to the complex mix ...

| Read Full Review of Loser

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

PW wrote in a starred review of this novel that begins with a boy's early days of invisibility and ignorant bliss, to the turning point when he is dubbed a loser, "The author demonstrates the difference between those who can see with compassionate 'little-kid eyes' and those who lose sight of w...

| Read Full Review of Loser

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

In a finely measured performance, prolific screen actor Buscemi brings an appropriately understated emotional current to Spinelli's tale about Donald Zinkoff, a generally happy, spirited and clumsy boy known to his classmates and neighbor kids as the biggest loser around.

| Read Full Review of Loser

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Beginning with Donald Zinkoff's early days of invisibility and ignorant bliss ("Maybe it annoys you that he seems to be having even more fun than you, but it's a one-second thought and it's over," says the omniscient narrator in the opening chapter), the narrative follows the boy through his inst...

| Read Full Review of Loser

Common Sense Media

And Spinelli has the courage to stick to his point right to the end -- no losers or winners, no heroes or villains, no happy endings or sad ones, just children, and their confusing ability occasionally to connect.

Dec 28 2003 | Read Full Review of Loser


After seeing Zinkoff's consistently positive attitude and the level at which he tries, readers will want Zinkoff to become part of the in-crowd among his peers.

Jul 29 2003 | Read Full Review of Loser

Youth Services Book Review

Loser’s main character Donald Zinkoff is just starting kindergarten when the reader is introduced to him.

Mar 08 2007 | Read Full Review of Loser

Reader Rating for Loser

An aggregated and normalized score based on 604 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review