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4/5 (72 valutazioni)
168 pagine
2 ore
Oct 13, 2009


From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes a powerful story about how not fitting in just might lead to an incredible life. This classic book is perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Carl Hiaasen.

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, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs. The perfect classroom read.

Oct 13, 2009

Informazioni sull'autore

Jerry Spinelli received the Newbery Medal for Maniac Magee and a Newbery Honor for Wringer. His other books include Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Smiles to Go; Loser; Jake and Lily; Hokey Pokey; and The Warden’s Daughter. His novels are recognized for their humor and poignancy, and his characters and situations are often drawn from his real-life experience as a father of six children. Jerry lives with his wife, Eileen, also a writer, in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

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Anteprima del libro

Loser - Jerry Spinelli


1. You Grow Up

You grow up with a kid but you never really notice him. He’s just there—on the street, the playground, the neighborhood. He’s part of the scenery, like the parked cars and the green plastic cans on trash day.

You pass through school—first grade, second grade—there he is, going along with you. You’re not friends, you’re not enemies. You just cross paths now and then. Maybe at the park playground one day you look up and there he is on the other end of the seesaw. Or it’s winter and you sled to the bottom of Halftank Hill, and you’re trudging back up and there he goes zipping down, his arms out like a swan diver, screaming his head off. And 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.

You don’t even know his name.

And then one day you do. You hear someone say a name, and somehow you just know that’s who the name belongs to, it’s that kid.


2. The Bright Wide World

He is one of the new litter of boys tossed up by this brick-and-hoagie town ten miles by trolley from a city of one million. For the first several years they have been home babies—Zinkoff and the others—fenced in by walls and backyard chain-link and, mostly, by the sound of Mother’s voice.

Then comes the day when they stand alone on their front steps, blinking and warming in the sun like pups of a new creation.

At first Zinkoff shades his eyes. Then he lowers his hand. He squints into the sun, tries to outstare the sun, turns away thrilled and laughing. He reaches back to touch the door. It is something he will never do again. In his ears echo the thousand warnings of his mother: Don’t cross the street.

There are no other constraints. Not a fence in sight. No grown-up hand to hold. Nothing but the bright wide world in front of him.

He lands on the sidewalk with both feet and takes off. Heedless of all but the wind in his ears, he runs. He cannot believe how fast he is running. He cannot believe how free he is. Giddy with freedom and speed, he runs to the end of the block, turns right and runs on.

His legs—his legs are going so fast! He thinks that if they go any faster he might begin to fly. A white car is coming from behind. He races the car. He is surprised that it passes him. Surprised but not unhappy. He is too free to be unhappy. He waves at the white car. He stops and looks for someone to laugh with and celebrate with. He sees no one, so he laughs and celebrates with himself. He stomps up and down on the sidewalk as if it’s a puddle.

He looks for his house. It is out of sight. He screams into the never-blinking sun: Yahoo! He runs some more, turns right again, stops again. It occurs to him that if he keeps turning right he can run forever.


3. Win

Sooner or later the let-loose sidewalk pups will cross the streets. Running, they will run into each other. And sooner or later, as surely as noses drip downward, it will no longer be enough to merely run. They must run against something. Against each other. It is their instinct.

Let’s race! one will shout, and they race. From trash can to corner. From stop sign to mail truck.

Their mothers holler at them for running in the streets, so they go to the alleys. They take over the alleys, make the alleys their own streets.

They race. They race in July and they race in January. They race in the rain and they race in the snow. Although they race side by side, they are actually racing away from each other, sifting themselves apart. I am fast. You are slow. I win. You lose. They forget, never to remember again, that they are pups from the same litter.

And they discover something: They like winning more than losing. They love winning. They love winning so much that they find new ways to do it:

Who can hit the telephone pole with a stone?

Who can eat the most cupcakes?

Who can go to bed the latest?

Who can weigh the most?

Who can burp the loudest?

Who can grow the tallest?

Who is first . . . first . . . first . . . ?




Burping, growing, throwing, running—everything is a race. There are winners everywhere.

I win!

I win!

I win!

The sidewalks. The backyards. The alleyways. The playgrounds. Winners. Winners.

Except for Zinkoff.

Zinkoff never wins.

But Zinkoff doesn’t notice. Neither do the other pups.

Not yet.

4. Zinkoff’s First Day

Zinkoff gets in trouble his first day of school.

In fact, before he even gets to school he’s in trouble. With his mother.

Like the other neighborhood mothers of first-day, first-grade children, Mrs. Zinkoff intends to walk her son to school. First day is a big day, and mothers know how scary it can be to a six-year-old.

Zinkoff stands at the front window, looking at all the kids walking to school. It reminds him of a parade.

His mother is upstairs getting dressed. She calls down, "Donald, you wait!" Her voice is firm, for she knows how much her son hates to wait.

By the time she comes downstairs, he’s gone.

She yanks open the door. People are streaming by. Mothers hold the hands of younger kids while fourth- and fifth-graders yell and run and rule the sidewalks.

Mrs. Zinkoff looks up the street. In the distance she sees the long neck of a giraffe poking above the crowd, hurrying along with the others. It’s him. Must be him. He loves his giraffe hat. His dad bought it for him at the zoo. If she has told him once, she has told him fifty times: Do not wear it to school.

The school is only three blocks away. He will be there before she can catch him. With a sigh of surrender she goes back into the house.

The first-grade teacher stands at the doorway as her new pupils arrive. Good morning . . . Good morning . . . Welcome to school. When she sees the face of a giraffe go by, she nearly swallows her greeting. She watches the giraffe and the boy under it march straight to a front-row desk and take a seat.

When the bell rings, the teacher, Miss Meeks, shuts the door and stands before the desk of the unusually hatted student. The other students are openly giggling. She wonders if this boy is going to be a problem. This is Miss Meeks’s year to retire, and the last thing she needs is a troublesome first-grader.

That’s quite a hat you have there, she says. It is in fact remarkably lifelike.

The boy pops to his feet. He beams. It’s a giraffe.

So I see. But I’m afraid you’ll have to take it off now. We don’t wear hats in the classroom.

Okay, he says cheerfully. He takes off the hat.

You may be seated.


He seems agreeable enough. Perhaps he will not be troublesome after all.

Now she has to tell him that he cannot keep the hat with him. She hopes he won’t break out bawling. First-graders can be so unpredictable. You never know what might set them off.

She tells him. She keeps an eye on his lower lip, to see if it will quiver. It does not. Instead he pops to his feet again and brightly chirps, Yes, ma’am, and hands the hat to her.

Yes, ma’am? Where did that come from? She smiles and whispers, Thank you. Down now.

He whispers back, Yes, ma’am.

Twenty-six heads turn to follow her as she carries the three-foot hat to the cubbyholes at the back of the room. She labeled the cubbies the day before, and now she suddenly realizes she doesn’t know which one belongs to the boy. She turns. What’s your name, young man?

He jumps to attention and belts at full voice, Zinkoff!

She has to turn her face to keep from laughing out loud. In all her thirty years of teaching, she has never known a student to announce himself or herself in such a manner.

She turns back to him and gives a slight bow, which somehow seems to be called for. Thank you. And no need to shout, Mr. Zinkoff. Do you have a first name?

The class is atwitter.

Donald, he says.

Thank you, Donald. And you may keep your seat. There is no need to rise when you speak.

Yes, ma’am.

The cubbies, as the classroom seating soon will be, are in alphabetical order. She goes straight to the last cubbyhole and inserts the giraffe. The space is not deep enough to hold it all. It looks as if a baby giraffe is napping in there. The thought comes to her that Donald Zinkoff, in more ways than cubbyholes, will always be easy to find.

5. All Aboard

Miss Meeks stands at the head of the class and for the thirty-first and last time gives her famous opening day speech:

Good morning, young citizens . . .

It pleases her to think that many years down the road a student or two might recall that Miss Meeks called them young citizens in the first grade. She feels that America’s children are babied a bit too much and way too long.

"Welcome to your first day at John W. Satterfield Elementary School. This is a big, big day for you. Not only is it the first day of the school year, it is the first day of twelve school years. Hopefully, twelve years from now, every one of you will graduate from high school. That sounds like forever from now, doesn’t it?"

A sea of nodding heads, as always.

But it will come. Twelve years from now will surely come, and you will have learned how to write a topic sentence. And how to solve an equation. And even how to spell the word . . . she pauses dramatically, she opens her eyes wide as if seeing the wonderful future . . . tintinnabulation.

Audible gasps come from the sea of wide-eyed, oh-mouthed faces. A few shake their heads in vigorous denial. She sneaks a peek at Donald Zinkoff. He alone is grinning, giggling actually, as if he has been tickled.

"By the time you graduate from high school, many of you will already be driving cars and holding jobs. You will be ready to take your places in the world. You will be ready to travel all the way across the country by yourself, if you wish. Or to another country. You will be ready to begin your own families.

What a wonderful adventure it will be! And it all begins here. Right now. Today. It will be a journey and an adventure of many days. She pauses. She holds out her arms. ‘How many days?’ you ask.

Several hands shoot up. She knows if she answers them, someone will knock her whole point out of whack with a guess in the millions. She ignores them. She goes to the board. With a new-year, crisply cut length of chalk, she writes in large numbers on the green slate:

That, she says, "is the number of days we

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Cosa pensano gli utenti di Loser

72 valutazioni / 39 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    I was absolutely enamored by the character of Donald Zinkoff. The only words that I can use to truly describe this kid are eclectic and passionate. I feel that far too many middle readers advocate for losing one's idiosyncrasies, even if they don't mean to, just because they are not societally acceptable. "Loser" does not do this at all, rather, it celebrates Donald and shows that his quirks make him truly exceptional. I feel that this would be a wonderful book to have kids read because, as I read the book, Donald really became a real person to me (kudos Spinelli for introducing us) and he taught me two things that I would love for kids reading this to also takeaway, in addition to their own thoughts and conclusions about the story. First, this story teaches one to never give up what makes them unique. Further, "Loser" advocates for not caring what others thing and only paying mind to the unique things that make you happy. Secondly, this book taught me to be careful before I judge. Many of Zinkoff's actions on the surface could be initially characterized as either being careless of having an exaggerated amount of care, however, all of Donald's actions really come from a place of making himself and other's as happy as possible. I think that the big takeaway from this book is that everyone is different, however, we should all be using our unique means to make ourselves and everyone around us happy, rather than trying to conform at the expense of those we see as different from what society tells us is "cool". We should all forget about being "cool" or "losers" and just be ourselves.
  • (4/5)
    A sweet tale about an awesome, clumsy, enthusiastic, good kid. He's too busy having a good time enjoying life to notice that most of the other kids jut don't 'get' him. But eventually we learn just how astoundingly generous he really is.
  • (4/5)
    loser was a very interesting book.i would recomend it to someone who likes funny favorite part was when he passed out in the snow.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    Spinelli, Jerry, The Loser, kid is very focused, very persistent, even though others think he's a loser
  • (5/5)
    Out of all of Jerry Spinelli's books, this is probably one of my very favorites. We get to know the protagonist as a young child who is anxious to learn. He sees learning as wonderful. When the teacher told him how much time they would be in school he loved it. I think that was what made me fall in love with Donald Zinkoff. His quirky behavior told me that in the right hands he would come out on top Unfortunately, as a teacher I've seen some like the one he had who didn't like him because he wasn't quite as smart as other ids. She honestly thought Donald did things because he was trying her patience on purpose. He was branded a loser but didn't realize it until he got older. When that reality hit him it crushed him. However, when the book ends and Donald does something than many would see as heroic in his attempts would brand an example of what a loser he was, I always asked my students how they saw him now. It is funny that 99% no longer so him as a loser. Why? You really need to read this book. I try to start off my year reading this book to and with my students. I want them to understand that I have no losers in my class Everyone is different and therefore when we embrace those differences then everyone can be a winner. This is a book I am always recommending and will continue to recommend. It is one of my favorite yearly rereads.
  • (2/5)
    I'm giving this a try again; I tried reading it about 3 years ago and lost interest. Perhaps I was in the wrong frame-of-mind.

    Update: I read it, and I wish I hadn't. There was no conflict and nothing to hold my interest after about the first 20 pages. At first, I chuckled aloud a bit and adored Zinkoff, the protagonist, but this was an uneventful character study of sorts rather than a story. So Zinkoff is ultra unique and confident, even though he's essentially a "loser" at everything, but he's okay with it, and people are sort of okay with it in his life. There's nothing more to this book than an introduction to one more adorable, loveable Spinelli character. Maybe it would've been a good short story? It just seemed pointless. And boring. Maybe now that I know Zinkoff, he could show up in another story that combines multiple Spinelli characters--a book in which something interesting happens. Go for it, Spinelli!
  • (3/5)
    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. 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."
  • (3/5)
    this was one of my son's required reading books for 7th grade, so I read it behind him to see what the schools are assigning. This one is about a boy named Donald Zinkoff. He has such a zest for life & a joy in the world around him, yet in reality he is clumsy, awkward, & not really good at anything specific. It's painful to watch him struggle his way through his mishaps at school, at the hands of his schoolmates, & his increasing isolation as the one friend he did have moves away. By the time he reaches middle school & becomes self aware & more mature, he tones down his ebullient ways more, trying harder to fit in. But it really doesn't work. However, by the end of the book, one boy seems to want to give him the chance to be a part of a group. I think it ended somewhat ambiguously because you want to imagine that he will strike up a friendship with this boy. Very good read!
  • (5/5)
    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.)
  • (3/5)
    even though it was a short read it was really refreshing to read a book about school that was normal. It wasn't about a popular kid who looked down their nose at everyone and it wasn't about a kid who was bullied day in day out and just wants it to stop. Donald Zinkoff is in his own world most of them time. He's very happy go lucky.and doesn't let most get him down. He loves school even though he doesn't excel at it, and trys to make friends with everyone despite being ignored and made fun of. For most of it he's completely oblivious to the other kids taunts and doesn't seem to be 'normal'What I liked about this books is even though he had a hard time at school he never let it get the better of him or feel sorry for himself. It wasn't a spectacular book and it wasn't bad. It was good for a short light hearted story
  • (5/5)
    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 immense and looming.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    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 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.
  • (4/5)
    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 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.
  • (4/5)
    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, 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.
  • (4/5)
    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 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.
  • (3/5)
    Loser is about a young boy who is not the most popular or smartest kid in his grade. Donald Zinkoff is excited about school, but is not quite good at anything he does. But, his enthused spirit about school is what sets him apart from the others. I personally did not like the book, because I feel Spinelli could have down much more with the character. The book did not have an actual problem or conflict until the end of the book. He gives the background information of Donald, but it leaves the reader to ask, what's the point of the book?
  • (4/5)
    Jerry Spinelli creates a memorable and awkwardly adorable character in Donald Zinkoff. Donald is an under achiever at best, yet he has a heart of gold. You can't help but feel as though you are cheering for the underdog as you follow Donald's mishaps and misadventures from the time he is just starting school all the way to a nail biting culminating event in his first years of middle school. Donald's experiences tug at your heart strings and will help teach intermediate and middle school students the importance empathy and understanding and acceptance.
  • (5/5)
    This book is a very moving story. It is about a boy that gets bullied and picked on in school. In the end, it elevates to a life and death situation. This book was read to me in 6th grade, and I absolutely loved it. It was realistic fiction
  • (5/5)
    This is a great story about a boy who doesn't quite fit in. It's unclear if he doesn't know if he doesn't fit in or he is just not worried about it. He is the one always trying to help others. I think this is a great story for kids who do not quite feel like they fit in or belong. I feel that children could learn a lot from this book. I don't necessarily think I would use it as a group reading but recommend it for independent reading.
  • (5/5)
    This book was so amazing I love it so much
  • (4/5)
    ??? ƅ???? ????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ??????. :) :)
  • (3/5)
    It wasn’t a bad book. Not a good one either. The story has some nice things in it, a few good lessons. But the story just didn’t feel like one complete story. Beginning goes slowly, getting to know the character. Then something happens, very quickly & the book just ends. Didn’t feel neat enough. Quick and easy read though. Feel like this would be great for 9-13 yr olds.
  • (4/5)
    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! 
  • (4/5)
    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 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.
  • (3/5)
    Jerry Spinelli’s Loser is the story of a young boy named Donald Zinkoff and his trials and tribulations through primary and secondary school. This chapter book starts off with Zinkoff in the first grade where he appears a bit quirky but is a good hearted enthusiastic little boy who loves school. The author takes you through the life of this young boy, what he does, what he thinks, and can be easily related to by other young boys. When Zinkoff reaches the fifth grade things begin to change for him as his classmates start to judge him as different because he laughs to much or wears funny clothes. This is a tough time for students as they begin to compare themselves to their peers and self-esteem can be very low. Zinkoff is teased and labeled a loser at this time due to his un-athletic abilities. This is a look into bullying in the schools, on a smaller level. It is a good story that does not end as triumphantly one would hope, but still carries an anti-bullying lesson.
  • (4/5)
    Loser by Jerry Spinelli focuses on Donald Zinkoff and his travels through school. We learn to love him and root for him; hoping things will go his way. Even when they don’t his kindness and positive energy is an inspiration. I would recommend this book to kids in upper elementary school or middle school students. Many would be able to relate to Zinkoff and his trials and tribulations; others could maybe understand things from the other side. My heart went out to Zinkoff and I wanted to help him. I think we all know kids that see the world in a different way and Loser is a good example of why we should be a little more patient with others and give them a chance. This is a great book for discussions about life and doing the right thing!
  • (5/5)
  • (3/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Donald Zinkoff is a rare spirit with a simple mind that loves living, school and making others happy. Some would say he is mentally challenged. He does what he does with gusto, everything from raising his hand with the wrong answer in school to not being able to contain his laughter. By fourth grade he is labeled "Loser" and that is how things stay...until one night when a little 2 year old girl is lost and Donald does not give up looking for her for 7 long hours through snow and sleet. Even though the girl is found after just one hour and the search begins for him, Donald's tenacious, caring spirit shines in this somewhat foolish action that could have cost him his life. Later, when starting junior high, he still is seen as the kid that can'teven catch a football by almost everybody. However, there is something about this kid that Bonce can't grasp, yet at the same time, can't let go of. Why did he keep looking for the girl? Spinelli explores the rough side of childhood in Loser and does not offer an easy answer. But then, nothing in life is easy. 218 p. Good characterization development story that would work well for a tween book discussion. ages 8-12.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile