Mary Tripp's fifth-graders at Bateman Elementary School in
Chicago saw one of Chicago Parent's first Kids' Corner reviews and
were inspired to write their own reviews of Loser by Jerry
Spinelli. The following are excerpts from some reviews written by
her students in the class. The rest will appear in June.
Giggle. Snicker. Laugh. If you hear these sounds, you are sure
to find Donald Zinkoff running around somewhere. There he is now! I
see him! He just ran into a book. The book is called Loser by Jerry
Donald Zinkoff is the star of Loser and he goes to school but
isn't really noticed until fifth grade, when everyone notices him
as a loser. Donald doesn't really care what other people think
about him because he is busy enjoying life.
I loved this book so much because of Donald and his giggling at
almost anything. Did you hear that? It sounds like Donald is
calling you. You better go out and get Loser today. Lori Kattner,
Yahoo! It's school!" Who would say that? The "The Zink." That's
short for Donald Zinkoff. And who would ever be nice to a bully and
not run away? You guessed it: my pal Donald.
Whenever Donald does something special, his mother gives him a
sticker shaped like a star. Donald thinks the stars fall from the
sky just so mothers everywhere can go around and collect them to
give to their kids when they need to be congratulated. When Donald
gets a new neighbor who is unhappy about leaving his old
neighborhood, Donald bakes him a giant snicker doodle cookie. This
reminds me of the time I moved when I was small and had to make new
I think Loser is great because it is both funny and serious. I
really like that Donald goes from being a zero to a hero. If I
could change one thing, I would get rid of the bully in the story
because he judges Donald before he even knows him. Jose Torres,
Have you ever met a loser? Have you ever been a loser? Even if
you haven't, you will still love Loser. It's about a boy who has
lots of adventures and meets new and different people. At first, he
has little adventures. But as he gets older, he has bigger
Donald had surgery to stop his throwing-up problem. You see, he
used to throw up several times a week because of the upside down
valve in his stomach. His mom had an alarm because Donald was
supposed to stay home from school for three weeks. The alarm was
his sister, Polly, who always says "Bye, bye" whenever anyone opens
the front door. This kept Donald from sneaking off to his favorite
place, school. I never had surgery before, but if someone told me I
had to stay home from school for three weeks, I would like to.
Who laughs at the word "jabip"? Who throws up on his teacher's
favorite eraser? Who's dad had driven seven junky cars called
"Clunkers 1-7"? Who made the biggest snicker doodle cookie? Donald
Zinkoff, that's who!
Donald Zinkoff isn't like ordinary kids. Donald actually loves
to go to school! In fact, he was so impatient to start first grade
that he went to go to school by himself, even though his mother
told him to wait. Donald's parents love him a lot. I can tell
because they made "Take Donald Zinkoff to Work Day," which was one
of my favorite adventures. Donald's dad is a mailman, so Donald
can't tag along on Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day. So one
Sunday (which is not an a official mail day) Donald gets to deliver
100 letters he made himself.
By far, this is the best book I've ever read. I would read it
over again. Remember: If you are one of those people who loves to
laugh and giggle, get Loser by Jerry Spinelli now. Ivette Patino,
Hey, loser. I'm not actually calling you a loser, but I'm
talking about the new book by Jerry Spinelli. Loser is about a
clumsy kid named Donald Zinkoff who has been a loser his whole life
and he doesn't even realize it.
The book contains a series of adventures. In one, Donald joins a
soccer team and demonstrates the same enthusiasm he has for school.
He isn't very good but doesn't care. He accidentally scores a point
for the other team. I wonder what will happen to Donald Zinkoff
when he grows up. You know what they say: Once a loser, always a
loser. Oh well, the book is a winner! Feda Hadzimusic, 12
"Loser, loser, double loser," says one mean kid to a little boy
who doesn't even care. Who is this amazing kid with that much
self-confidence? Donald Zinkoff, star of Loser.
One of my favorite parts is Donald's little sister, Polly, the
cute little alarm for the house. When she sits by the front door to
make sure Donald doesn't leave the house after his surgery, his mom
knows she will yell "Bye, bye!" She does that even after Donald
tries to bribe her with a cupcake. It makes me laugh to see Polly
the alarm set off.
I would recommend this book to my brother because Donald Zinkoff
is jolly, just like my brother. On a scale from one to 10, I would
vote Loser a 10 because some of us are just like Donald. Sheira
Who's funny? Who loves school? Who's a hero? If you guessed
Donald Zinkoff, you're right. If you like school and don't like to
wait, you'll love the book Loser too.
When it was time for Donald to start first grade, he wore his
beloved giraffe hat to school. During recess, a fourth-grade bully
wanted to mess with Donald and told him the hat was his. Donald
really thought he had made a mistake and the hat belonged to the
other kid, so he simply said, "OK." This made the bully mad because
he didn't get the reaction he was looking for from a
I think Loser is both funny and a little sad. The only thing you
are not going to like about Loser is that there is no sequel.
Dragan Jovanovic, 11
Do you like funny books? Then you are going to love Loser about
Donald Zinkoff. Donald's problem is he does not have friends and he
loses at everything he tries to do.
Donald Zinkoff has a problem throwing up a lot. One time he even
threw up on his teacher's favorite chalkboard eraser. She got so
mad she told him to get out of her classroom. You see, she had
bought the eraser with her own money and kept it for many years.
This reminded me of the time when my brother threw up on the
The reason I like Loser most of all is because Donald loves to
laugh. And whenever he laughs, I laugh too. Jazmin Roman, 11
KID'S CORNER We want to hear from kids. So, we are asking the
7-14 age set to submit reviews of about 300-500 words to Kid's
Corner. If we run it, we'll send you a $10 gift certificate. Please
include your photo, the full title of whatever you are reviewing,
your name, age, the town where you live and your parents' name and
phone number. Send it to: Kids' Corner c/o Chicago Parent, 141 S.
Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302, or e-mail it to
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.