5 / 5 Stars
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—making this a perfect classroom read—and watch his character develop, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs.
I read this book as required summer reading while going from 5th grade into 6th grade. That was 12 years ago, and I had absolutely no memory of what this book was about until I decided I ought to reread it.
I almost want to say this isn’t a children’s book. Reading it feels like an adult talking about the life of a child, which is true. But it also allows a young reader to really be able to insert themselves into the story and be the one the author is talking about.
I loved this. I loved this to the moon and back. There was such a good message that I missed when I was 10-years-old, and this was so beautifully written. I’m so glad I decided to spend the time to reread it (and it was a quick read being at a lower reading level!). I’ll definitely be adding this to my favorites list.