Our Price: $16.95


Mark Alan Stamaty

Hardcover / Knopf Young Readers / 40 pages / 3-7 years (and adult!)

Originally published in 1973, Who Needs Donuts is a sweet visual feast that will have kids (and nostalgic parents) poring over its rich tableaus for hours. Every inch of each black-and-white page is covered in detailed, delightful drawings, at times bringing to mind the two-dimensional cartoons of Saul Steinberg, at others the scratchy realism of Lynda Barry’s comics. In fact, there is so much to look at in this short, simple story that new discoveries are sure to be made with each successive reading (of which there are bound to be countless).

Young Sam, clad (inexplicably, yet charmingly) in cowboy duds, already has a nice house with a big yard and lots of friends, but he feels nonetheless that something is missing. He mounts his trusty trike and heads for the big city in search of one thing: donuts, and not just a few, but "More than his mother and father could ever buy him."

His quest is rife with humor and adventure, not to mention a man in paisley suit and a woman named Pretzel Annie. Kids will adore the no-holds-barred kookiness displayed throughout (a street vendor selling fried oranges with optional mayonnaise; a "self-service" restaurant where the waiters look exactly like the customers), and adults will smile at the hippie-era moral that love is all you need. As the flap illustration warns, "This book is addictive," but this sugar habit need not be kicked. (Ages 5 to 10) --Brangien Davis

From the Inside Flap: Sam's love of donuts takes him to the Big City where he makes friends with Mr. Bikferd, a world class collector of donuts. But when Mr. Bikferd falls in love with Pretzel Annie, the prophecy of an old homeless woman comes true: "Who needs donuts when you've got love?" Mr. Bikferd bequeaths his donut collection to Sam, who uses it to save the old homeless woman from drowning in a basement flooded with coffee.

This is a reissue of Mark Alan Stamaty's masterpiece of the absurd, first published 30 years ago and out of print nearly as long. With an illustration style that mixes a benign Hieronymus Bosch with an urban "Where's Waldo?, Stamaty's off-the-wall humor is on target for little kids and big kids today.