Donuthead

Common Sense Media says

Lighthearted but heartfelt look at serious issues.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The solution to dealing with bullies is beating them up.

Violence & scariness

Sarah punches the school bully -- twice.

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sarah's solution for dealing with the school bully -- beating him up -- is presented as sensible and earns her respect. Franklin is obsessed with danger and spends much time researching all the ways in which children can be hurt and get sick.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Franklin Delano Donuthead has more problems than his name. He is obsessed with health, safety, and cleanliness. His mother, who is just the opposite, doesn't know what to do with him except to try to get him to play baseball. He is bullied at school and has no friends, except for Gloria, the chief statistician for the National Safety Department, whom Franklin calls at least once a week to discuss all the ways a boy can be injured, maimed, sickened, or killed.

Sarah, the new girl in his class, turns his world upside down. She is everything he is not -- tough, filthy, and illiterate -- and she soon becomes fast friends with Franklin's mother. But Sarah, as Franklin's mother says, has \"real problems: she lives in poverty with her abusive father, but dreams of being a figure skater. And Franklin finds himself being drawn very reluctantly into a group of people who are trying to make her dreams come true.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

What sounds in synopsis like a cardboard comedy, filled with stereotypical characters and stock situations, becomes in author Stauffacher's deft treatment an affecting story with surprising depth. She manages to make Franklin's weird personality believable by combining utter consistency with a light touch, never going too far or making the humor too broad.

But though Franklin is the engaging and humorous narrator, it's not really his story: He is more or less just along for the ride as his mother undertakes Sarah's reclamation. Like Huck Finn, Franklin often describes what he does not really understand, but unlike Twain's character, he gradually starts to get it, and it is that dawning understanding, and eventually even empathy, that enables his heart to begin to gain parity with his intellect. And that's a story worth reading.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the ways in which the two children deal with their world. Franklin wonders why he has no friends, and why adults react the way they do to Sarah is mysterious to him. What is he missing?

Book details

Author:Sue Stauffacher
Genre:Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date:August 22, 2005
Number of pages:144
Read aloud:8
Read alone:9

This review of Donuthead was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 3, 2012
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

donuthead

enables his heart to begin to gain parity with his intellect. And that's a story worth reading. Families can talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the ways in which the two children deal with their world. Franklin wonders why he has no friends, and why adults react the way they do to Sarah is mysterious to him. What is he missing?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Kid, 11 years old October 26, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Dounthead

The book is good and it has some bad stuff in it too.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models

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