by Sue Stauffacher


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Franklin Delano Donuthead is a fifth grader with a lot of problems: For starters, his last name is Donuthead. He considers himself handicapped because one arm and leg are shorter than the other (by less than half an inch), his mother is trying to poison him with non-organic foods (like salami), he doesn’t have a father, and Sarah Kervick, the new girl, who’s mean and totally unhygienic, is attached to him, warts and all, like glue.

This is a hilarious and touching novel featuring a neurotic, scared boy and a tougher-than-nails girl who each help the other in more ways than they can imagine. Sue Stauffacher has crafted characters full of wit and sensitivity, with a little anti-bacterial soap thrown in for good measure.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440419341
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/28/2005
Series: Donuthead
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 265,178
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Sue Stauffacher is a professional journalist and has been writing a children’s book review column for ten years. This is her first novel for Knopf.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter one

Just the Facts

My name, if you must know, is Franklin Delano Donuthead.

Try saying that in a room full of fifth graders if you think names will never hurt you.

The Donuthead part comes from way back, from my great-great-great-great-grandfather who came to the United States during the famous turnip famine. Of course he didn't speak a lick of English. His Russian name was something like Donotscked. Somehow, when he came out of the ferry office at Ellis Island with a piece of paper in his hand, he was a Donuthead.

So, basically, I come from a long line of suffering Russian Donutheads.

All the suffering could have been avoided if it weren't for Washington Irving, this very famous writer who recorded the events of his life in his journal. One day, he wrote about these little balls of sweetened dough he liked fried up in hog fat. He called them dough nuts. Because, you see, the very first doughnuts were shaped like lumpy brown walnuts.

If only he'd stuck with the name the Dutch people gave them. They were the ones who created them, anyway. They called them olykoeks. If he had called them olykoeks, my life would have been very different, I assure you.

Then again, with my luck, I would have been named Franklin Delano Olykoekhead.

My mother is a major major fan of our thirty-second president. She likes to listen to the radio addresses that Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave when he came into office during the Great Depression. Believe it or not, she listens to them in her van during her workday. She has them all on tape.

"If FDR could rise above a life-threatening illness to become president of the United States, then you should be able to rise above the curse of a name like Donuthead to at least play third base for the New York Yankees," my mother says.

I think this is very unfair. Your mother gives you a name when you're all red and screaming and you have a pounding headache. You're not really in a position to question the "future" situation.

Now that I am eleven, I have pretty much accepted my life. I'm a Russian Donuthead who's named after a great handicapped president.

In some twisted way, this all makes sense. Because, you see, I too am handicapped. Yes, one side of my body is shorter than the other. My mother says this is my imagination, but I am here to tell you that a tape measure does not lie.

"Maybe you're just growing from side to side," she says. "One side first and then the other."

While this may be possible, I think it's highly unlikely. I have found no evidence to support this theory. Currently, there is an eight-tenths-of-an-inch difference between my left arm and my right arm, and a four-tenths-of-an-inch difference between my left leg and my right leg. Just yesterday, when I measured my legs after school, I found my toe creeping closer to the five. I am preparing myself mentally to have legs that look like they belong on two different bodies. Both my left arm and my left leg are longer. At this rate, I'm going to have to go to one of those special stores to be fitted for my Sunday suits. Soon, I'll be buying shoes with one high heel.

All my mother cares about is how this will affect my ability to play third base for the New York Yankees. I keep telling her that with my athletic ability, I'd be lucky if they hired me to chalk out the field. I think it's so pathetic how parents are always trying to transfer their dreams onto their kids.

So far, I've just focused on staying alive. If I didn't know there was an astonishingly high probability that I would live through each day–given my age, general health, and relatively high standard of living–I would not get out of bed in the morning.

I avoid motor vehicles whenever possible. According to the National Safety Department, this is by far the most likely way to die as a kid. I also avoid all bodies of water (drowning's number two), and anything that would cause a death-inducing accident (number three). This could be, oh, say, being hit in the temple by a hard grounder down the third base line. In addition, I never play with matches or firearms; never climb trees, ladders, or fences; change the smoke detector batteries every three months; do not drink liquids that are stored under the sink or put any plastic bags over my head.

Gloria Nelots, the chief statistician for the National Safety Department in Washington, has already offered me a job when I graduate from college–if I should live that long. She and I talk at least once a week.

Me: Good morning, Gloria.

Gloria: What is it now, Franklin?

Me: My school is planning a field trip to a working farm.

Gloria: And . . .

Me: I was just wondering . . . what is the likelihood of me being crushed by a moving tractor?

Gloria: Remote.

Me: Trapped in a hay silo and suffocated by grain?

Gloria: They don't make percentages that small.

Me: Can mad cow disease be transmitted by saliva? I mean, if a cow licks me, and . . .

Gloria: Franklin, you would have to eat it, and since you never touch red meat . . .

Me: Gloria, I think you should know our school bus does not have seat belts.

Gloria: I'll get someone on it right away, Franklin.

Me: It's Bus Number 987 in the Pelican View School District. In addition, I think the rear tires are overinflated, causing premature baldness. I was just wondering, Gloria . . .

Gloria: You won't get a note from me, Franklin, if that's what you're angling for. I think it's perfectly safe for you to go to the farm.

Me: Well, obviously, I'm concerned for the safety of all the students, not just myself. Recently, I noticed that several children have been coming to school with their shoes untied. These are young children, Gloria . . .

Gloria: Franklin?

Me: Yes?

Gloria: Do you ever think about girls?

Me: Girls, Gloria?

Gloria: I think it would be better for your health if you thought about girls rather than disasters. Stress plays a major role in the leading causes of death in this nation.

Well, let me tell you, I didn't have anything to say to that. I just had to hang up right then. After all, Gloria is a girl. How could I tell her that girls filled me with so much stress they ought to come with warning labels?

Table of Contents

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Donuthead 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
LibbyJaycox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this book was very funny.
GI142984 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book¿s title Donuthead is from the character¿s name Franklin Delano Donuthead. Franklin is a elementary student who does not worry about what an average kid his age should worry about. He would be described being germ phobic and will not do ANYTHING that has a high statistic rate of getting physically injured including eating anything that is not organic. He doesn¿t have any friends until one day he is paired up with a new girl on a school field trip. Sara Kervick is NOTHING like Franklin, she is not afraid of anything, she can beat up anyone that messes with her, and she is dirty. Through out the book Franklin discovers that Sara can¿t read, doesn¿t have a mother, and dreams of being an ice skater. Franklin¿s mother takes in Sara and helps her with her appearance and ends up ¿working¿ for his mother so she can buy girl clothes. Franklin and Sara teach each other life lessons, and you wouldn¿t think so in the begging since they were complete opposites. Does Franklin change his ways?This was an awesome book. I LOVED the message, I loved the personalities, and I LOVED Franklin. I could go on about this book, it was humorous and entertaining. My favorite parts were Franklin¿s two cents on every unhygienic or physical situation. I would recommend EVERYONE to read it, you will enjoy it! The ending was extra cute!I would love students to read this book as a class assignment to relay the message of friendships. I would need parent consent because there are TWO little words that might be offensive. I would also have the students make a list of differences of the two friends, then make a comparison, because they are complete opposites but there¿s more than meets the eye.
thegame998 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
well this is the first book I've read from this author and it was pretty good.Very comedic and nows what happens in the life of an embarresed kid. This is pretty good but the author needs to show a little more expression.But I expect more from this author.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Franklin Delano Donuthead knows that life is scary. Germs are everywhere, kids could beat you up on the playground, preservatives and dyes in food could give you cancer, and don't get him started on the dangers of baseball. It's hard to have friends when every waking moment is spent figuring out how to protect yourself from these assailants. Then Franklin meets Sarah, a new girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Sarah is tough and when she gets thrust into sitting next to Franklin, she decides he needs to be tough, too. Franklin will do anything to avoid her, but maybe, just maybe, this could be the friend he's been looking for.A sweet story about a neurotic boy and an underpriveleged girl with big dreams.
Muv1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An awesome story about a boy who is a germ-a-phobe, and becomes friends with a very tough, motherless girl with a dream to be an ice-skater. They do baseball together with the help of Donuthead's mother, and deal with bullies, meanwhile Donuthead tries to get away from his fears.
ksquared on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amazing story about a boy who is afraid of germs meeting a girl thats different than all the other girls he's ever met.That girl helps him forget about germs and he helps her fulfill her dream of becoming an ice-skater.
smokeythebear210 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought Donuthead was a very hilarious. But when I started reading Donuthead it was pretty weird. After reading the book longer I started to get the idea of how the story was going to turn out.
Mttech23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two kids that are way different. That become the best of friends. One that has a dream and one that is the weirder then weird.
evil1000 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book about a kid named Donuthead and a gril that showes up thater in the book her named is Sara.Sara and Donuthead are not alike at all.
jrakeandlola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this book was so funny I could not stop laughing. I loved the part when Franklin went out in the ice with all of the goalie gear.
Bellarock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amazing story about a boy who is a germ-a-phobe, a motherless girl with a dream of being an ice-skater, and how they become friends. Donuthead is a story about a friendship like none other. Donuthead has to face his fears, play baseball, and help Sara live her dream.
monkey22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
franklin is a weird kid who is afraid of germs, bullies,and everything else that can heart him. Sara, one of Franklin's friends, is a tough girl who is like a germs hotel ends up sitting next to franklin on a bus, but they become friends somehow.
lindgoldman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this character and storyline about a boy who has phobia about germs and safety. He meets a motherless girl who has a secret dream of ice-skating. Theme of hope is nicely developed as well as great poetry references.
softball35 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story about two totally different kids who become really good friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is soo awesome awsome totally
John McMahon More than 1 year ago
This book is way better that big nate books and big nate books rock! :) 8-)
Lauren Kantor More than 1 year ago
great for kids!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
this author must be kidding. from sperm donation to 'retards' being pulled out of class for special help, i found this book inappropriate for most 10 year olds. it is required reading in my town...but i am not going to have my 10 year old read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My teacher read to my class dounthead.She look very surprise when Sue used words like Hell and unick.It was very uncalledfor.But when My class and I meat Sue she told us it was so it didn't sound fake.I mean would a old person who smokes and drinks say,'get the heck of my property'?NO!but all in all it was a GREAT book and Sue also told us that in 2006 the will be a DountHead 2,Dount Heart!And on june 28th Harry Sue will be coming out!