Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Alan Stamaty
Wow. This is quite a book. It was first published in 1973 and then apparently went swiftly out of print, and used copies of it fetched hundreds of dollars. I can see why. It’s definitely the kind of book where, if you read it as a child, you would be desperate to get your hands on it to see if it was everything you remembered it to be. Happily, it has now been reprinted, so we can all enjoy it.
First, the story. A boy named Sam wishes for a bigger life, one that includes more donuts. So he hops on his tricycle and goes to the big city, where he meets Mr. Bickferd, a man who collects donuts. Lots and lots of donuts. He hires Sam on, and together they collect an obscene amount of donuts. So many donuts, in fact, that their donut cart breaks down, and Pretzel Annie comes to the rescue. While the cart is being fixed, Pretzel Annie and Mr. Bickferd fall in love, Mr. Bickferd leaves donut collecting, and Sam is on his own. All the while a bitter old woman keeps intoning, “Who needs donuts, when you have love?” The bitter old woman soon falls into a random set of circumstances that has her drowning in coffee, and Sam, now a lone donut collector, comes to her rescue.
Ok, so the story is one thing. But the PICTURES. Oh my goodness, they are indescribable. They are all black and white, pen and ink, and just unbelievably detailed. This is a book you will pick up after the kids go to bed just so you can study it. There are tiny words woven in everywhere, as signs, as ads, as bumper stickers, as things people are saying. Your kids will be begging, “Turn the page, Mommy!” as you get completely lost in every scene.