Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Donutheart Book Poster Image
Funny, moving, loving portrait of a neurotic boy.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Franklin overcomes personal neuroses that border on obsessive to help a friend.


Franklin's mom smooches her boyfriend. Franklin is the product of a sperm donor. He's starting to notice girls (and women).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Sarah's father smokes, drinks, and gets drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in this sequel to Donuthead, Sarah's father drinks, smokes, and is possibly abusive, though nothing is described. Also, Franklin is the product of a sperm donor -- young readers may ask what that is.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In this sequel to Donuthead, Franklin is now in middle school. He's still obsessed with germs and safety, is starting to notice girls, and has to deal with public bathrooms.

Franklin and Sarah continue to help each other. Sarah guards the bathroom for him, and Franklin helps her with skating and school. But things aren't going well in Sarah's life, and she and her deadbeat father begin hinting that they won't be staying around much longer.

Is it any good?

Try to ignore the hideous cover and the silly, pointless title; Sue Stauffacher's characters are so lovingly drawn, in all their quirkiness, that the reader falls in love with them, too. In real life, someone like Franklin might be irritating and weird, but as the author allows us inside his head, his quirks and obsessions become endearing, and readers can easily see past them into his large heart.

In fact, heart -- as the title indicates -- is what this book is about: Franklin's heart, enlarging as he learns to see beyond his own worries; the hearts of the adults, who see what is happening to Sarah and are powerless to do much about it; and Sarah's heart, held so tightly protected, that opens like a flower when she skates. It's also about the author's heart, which she shares so generously; and, most especially, about the reader's heart, which will be touched and expanded by this delightful, funny, poignant -- but never sentimental -- book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Franklin's obsessions. All of them are based in science and reality -- so why aren't they reasonable? Why is getting him to do unsafe things seen as beneficial?

Book details

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate