Monday, April 25, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Loser

My MMGM pick this week:

Loser by Jerry Spinelli
Published in 2003

Some other books by Spinelli:
Maniac Magee
Smiles to Go
Fourth Grade Rats
Space Station Seventh Grade

The Hook: The book follows the childhood of Donald Zinkoff, a misfist of sorts. When a girl goes missing in a snowstorm, Zinkoff is determined to find her before it's too late.

Why I love this book: Style and characters. This book is textbook on middle grade voice and style. You can really feel the emotions and perspective of the character Donald Zinkoff. Zinkoff is one of my favorite characters in Middle Grade fiction. Why? In my church, I volunteer to help the sunday school classes of kids age 3-11. In my service I've seen many kids (both boys and girls) that match this character. This book feels like a perspective into their world and my heart aches for them.

I would encourage kids 10+ to read this book so they can get a glimpse into the world of kids like Zinkoff and gain perspective, sensitivity, and compassion toward the kids they know. They just need a friend and want to be included.

My oldest is eight and I have this book in her TBR pile but not for a little bit. She still believes in magic and the book demystifies certain holidays. I would recommend this to upper middle graders and I think it is a great book for boys. Girls will like this book too but it will be harder to hold their interest. Stargirl would be a better but similar recommendation for girls.

Were you a Zinkoff/Stargirl as a kid?

Jr High was definitely an adjustment for me. In a time when it was cool to wear two pairs of matching socks with every outfit, I was made fun of because my white socks weren't doubled or matchers. Oh the silly things we remember.


  1. The title of this book always turned me off so I haven't read it. You've piqued my curiosity though!

  2. I haven't read this one yet. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I heart Spinelli, but haven't read this book...thanks for the info. I may MMGM STARGIRL next that book. I wasn't a Stargirl, but if I'd read the book, maybe I would've been.

  4. I have not read this but I will. And will be sure to share with book club

  5. I've heard wonderful things about this. I even own a copy, but I haven't read it yet. Great review! :-)

  6. Cool review, Brooke! Jerry Spinelli's the nicest guy in the world. We're so lucky here in PA that he's local. He's a treasure.

    I've read a great deal of Spinelli (Crash, Wringer, Stargirl, Maniac Magee, Eggs, Milkweed, Smiles to Go, and Dump Days, which is sadly OP now) but I've never read this one! Another book to add to my TBR list. Thanks.

  7. I've read most of Spinelli's books, but I haven't read this one. Thanks for the review!