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Loser

Narrated by: Steve Buscemi
Length: 3 hrs and 52 mins
Categories: Kids, Ages 8-10
4.5 out of 5 stars (259 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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".

©2002 Jerry Spinelli (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I want more of this precious soul!

What a wonderful story. Yes, this is a "children's" book, but I'm 53 & loved it. Children will love this story, too but, like all good Disney animated movies, astute adults might learn/absorb even more.

The protagonist is a joyous AND joyful, wonderful, marvelous child who loves life & school & his family &...everything!...& also doesn't realize his peers think he's a "loser". This book sends a powerful message, but not the "ram it down your throat" kind of message so many pc books of late attempt. This story will burrow under your skin & become a part of you - 'in a good way'.☺️

I say I want more...but I also believe a sequel would dilute this tale, much as the sequel to "Stargirl" did for me; although very good, it wasn't a good sequel. If it had been written as a stand-alone w/a different-named protagonist, I would have bought into it more.

Anyway, if you liked "Stargirl", you'll like "Loser". If you LOVED "Stargirl" (as I did), then you'll LOVE "Loser"! What a wonderful storyteller Mr. Spinelli is. What talent/acuity/skill/dexterity/gifts he has been blessed with.

PLUS! Who can pass up the chance to hear "Carl Showalter" (Steve Buscemi) from "Fargo" narrate?! How cool is that?! Something to keep in the back of your mind & grin about while you listen (he does a stellar job, too - just hits every mark).

Worth a WHOLE credit, even though so short; THAT'S how terrific I think "Loser" is.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

outstanding

What made the experience of listening to Loser the most enjoyable?

Spinelli's story captures youth, belonging, isolation, love... perfectly
Buscemi is perfect as a narrator
Can't say enough positive things about this
Must have for kids and adults alike

What other book might you compare Loser to and why?

Maniac Magee
Equally well-written and beautifully narrated

What about Steve Buscemi’s performance did you like?

Personality, gives you the sense of being an insider to Zinkoff's world

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great performance and thought provoking

This is a must read for middle schoolers to get a glimpse of bullying from a different perspective. Donald Zinkoff, the main character, doesn’t know how special he is. Without being didactic the author shows how kindness, acceptance and the lack thereof affect Donald and those around him. The audio performance brought Zinkoff alive. More than once this mom found herself wishing she could give the kid a hug.

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incredible

I honestly enjoyed this book! I just wish we could have had more on him on middle and in high school

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Be Kind to others..always

Be kind to others....that's the overall theme. As a young boy Donald Zinkoff learned from his parents to be kind. Perhaps from the day he was born, he had a sunny disposition. This story shows the innocence of youth. As you go through Donald's elementary years and middle school you begin to understand there are truly good people in this world. This story made my family chuckle. Sometimes it made them a little ruffled at the treatment of Zinkoff. In today's society it seems like there's always an adult ready to swoop in and easy tensions, but Donald is proof that an adult isn't always necessary. Donald does A-ok on his own by just being himself and learning a little bit about others.

Mr. Buscemi's performance was right on target and a joy to listen to .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Highly thought provoking

I loved the narrator. The characters were fun and believable. The story or unfolding of Donald's life was thought provoking and encourages self reflection. I love that the story reminds us that character beats mental or physical strength anyday!!!

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A Breath of Fresh Air

This story has been a favorite for me and my siblings since we were young. Steve Buscemi puts on a phenomenal performance and truly captures the character of Zinkoff. This story is truly timeless.

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Students can relate..

I taught with this book for several years and I have always been amazed to witness how thoughtful and empathetic young people are. Great way to continue conversations about respecting individual differences and perseverance.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Pretty Good Book

This book is pretty entertaining and I definitely recommend it! This book sends tons of different emotions through your body. But, whether the book makes you sad or mad, you'll will still be entertained.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ok

This book was very slow and not as funny as I thought it would be

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Profile Image for Lisa Aspland
  • Lisa Aspland
  • 08-12-17

Amazing

A amazing book with a brilliant storyline. You really get to love all of Zincoffs funny ways and imagination. Steve Buscemi was a fantastic narrator and he made the book alive. I would definitely recommend this book to boys and girls who age around 12-14. This is because the book got abut confusing towards the end. Nethertheless a heart touching book. 100 congratulations to you and a star. (You will only get that till after the book).