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.
Spinelli (Maniac Magee; Stargirl) here enters the consciousness of the social pariah. Beginning with Donald Zinkoff's early days of invisibility and ignorant bliss ("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," says the omniscient narrator in the opening chapter), the narrative follows the boy through his instant love for Satterfield Elementary School, then zeroes in on the turning point: "In fourth grade Zinkoff is discovered.... Big-kid eyes are picky. They notice things that the little-kid eyes never bothered with.... Twenty-seven classmates now turn their new big-kid eyes to Zinkoff." On field day in June, the fourth graders call him as they see him: "Each pronounces it perfectly. 'Loser.' " Through the use of the omniscient narrator, Spinelli builds up to the boy's "unveiling" with examples of Zinkoff's uncontrollable giggling in first grade, his one-sided friendship with his next-door neighbor, and his forced poor-sport behavior on the soccer field when the hero's team does not win. Spinelli balances Zinkoff's mistreatment by his peers with abundant love from his family and the friendship of the quirky neighbors to whom his postman father delivers mail especially the Waiting Man who patiently anticipates his brother's return from Vietnam, and a toddler attached to a clothesline with a leash. Spinelli creates no idealistic ending here; instead, with a near tragedy, the author demonstrates the differences between those who can continue to see with the more compassionate "little-kid eyes" and those who lose sight of what is truly important. Ages 8-12.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I’m not a writer but a reader but, I have to say that this book is extraordinary. I very much enjoy the strange problems of the nine year old boy.i do know this isn’t the best review but I just had to let people know of the talent in this book
Everyone who I know who has read this book has agreed that the book is terrible.
It has no plot, it is stupid. I recommend not reading it.