A Book Review
Loser, by Jerry Spinelli is a heart touching story about a young boy, Donald Zinkoff, and why people are called "losers." This story is about how Zinkoff was one of those people, and how he also got noticed. In this story, you first meet Zinkoff when he is about three or four years old, and are introduced into the world of kids competing and racing. Zinkoff soon enters first grade, and goes to school. He plays soccer and other sports. He loves to just play and has no regard for the rules of the game. His teammates think it's weird that he doesn't mind losing. He keeps a positive attitude and doesn't make many friends, although he tries.
He is first noticed when his fourth grade teacher, instead of placing him in the back of the classroom, like all the rest of his teachers had, places him in the front of the classroom. Kids start to notice him. A quote from the book is an example of how little they really thought about him beforehand:
"Zinkoff has always been clumsy, but now they notice. Zinkoff has always been messy and atrocious and too early and giggly and slow and more often than not wrong in his answers. But now they notice. They notice the stars on his shirts and his atrocious hair and his atrocious way he volunteers for everything. They notice it all. Even the dime-sized birthmark on his neck below his right earlobe…"(Page 99, Spinelli).
Even after they begin to notice him, he is still not the greatest at everything, and he never succeeds. Unfortunately, once his peers notice him, they begin to call him "loser." But then, one day, when it's snowing, he hears that a little girl he knows is missing. After that, everything changes.
Recommended for either those who have experienced exclusion, or those who are just interested in a good, educational book that keeps you wondering what will happen next in the life of an ordinary kid.
Author: Madison, middle school student writer
Reviewed by the Web Content
Committee of PAMF
Glossary of Words
Atrocious -- appalling, horrifying, utterly revolting
Exclusion -- to deny or restrict the entrance of