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Macaroni Boy Paperback – July 13, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (July 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440418844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440418849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-In 1933, as the Great Depression hits his Pittsburgh neighborhood, Mike Costa has a handful of problems to face. The family business is in financial trouble, his grandfather is losing his memory, and he faces bullying and anti-Italian prejudice at school. Meanwhile, his job as family rat catcher leads him to investigate the mysterious sickness that has killed some local hoboes, and affected his own grandfather. From the start, this fast-paced novel puts readers right into the vivid world of "the Strip" where Mike lives. His confused feelings of guilt about the neighborhood homeless and the squalid home of his bullying classmate add powerful human touches to the effects of the Depression. Though Mike has to rely on help from his archenemy, and helps him in turn, the boys quite realistically remain foes afterward. The mystery of why there are suddenly no rats for Mike to catch adds to the fast pace, though an encounter with moonshiners seems more contrived than other plot developments. As protagonist, Mike seems like an ordinary boy at first, but learns to solve his problems with intelligence, rather than the straightforward resistance his grandpa and uncles preach. His actions and his perceptions give readers an involving and informative kid's-eye look at several aspects of city life in the 1930s.
Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. In 1933 Pittsburgh, sixth-grader Mike Costa's family owns a food warehouse. The school bully torments Mike for this, calling him Macaroni Boy. Mike's job is to kill rats in the cellar, but each morning, when he checks his traps, he notices that there are fewer rats in the traps and more dead ones on the street. He notices also that his grandfather is becoming increasingly ill. With the help of his best friend, Joseph, Mike sets out to discover if there is a link between the dying rats and his grandfather's illness. Eventually, they piece enough clues together to determine the cause of the health problems. The mystery, however, is secondary to Ayres' evocation of Pittsburgh at the height of the Depression. She effectively describes not only Mike's warehouse-district neighborhood but also the highly anxious mind-set of the era. Mike's world is not, however, unrelentingly grim; he's surrounded by a loving extended family who helps him gradually gain a more mature understanding of the world. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

She kept the book short and interesting.
Dianne L. Cribbs
Even though the setting was during the depression, the issues discussed in the book can relate to today.
Michelle
Great book using the Historical Fiction genre.
Karrie Hamilton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Macaroni Boy Book Review 11/21/06 LA 3

By David

I read an interesting book titled Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres. It is a story set in 1933 during the great depression in Pittsburgh.

The main characters in this story are Mike Costa or Macaroni Boy, Andy Simms, Grand Pop, Macaroni Boy's uncles, and his Dad. Rats are also involved this story.... Mike also likes chocolate ice cream.

The main problem of the book occurs when Mike keeps on getting into fights with a bully, Andy Simms and his Grand Pop has a sickness which can turn everything upside down in a minute. Mike is trying to figure out what this sickness is before it gets too late.

My favorite parts of the book are the fights between Mike and Andy Simms. This is my favorite part because the narrator describes the fights vividly and I always want to see whether Mike would learn a lesson and report the bully instead of fighting back physically.

I really enjoyed this book because it gives a sense of life during this period of Great Depression. I would recommend it to anybody because it will help readers appreciate the things they have more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on September 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though the setting was during the depression, the issues discussed in the book can relate to today. My son was able to compare himself to Mike Costa in many ways. The highlights were the difference in parenting styles, trusting your instincts, knowing when to fight and when to talk and environmental issues.

I would definitely read it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jakob on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
I chose this book for a 4th grade book report that had to be a work of historical fiction. It was a really good book because of how the author explained the problems and solutions: economic hardship, family illness, and bullying. I really liked the scenes in Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor and now I want to go there someday!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Abby on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You should get this book, when u stop reading you r on the edge of your seat! You should get the book and you will agree! A five star book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gwynne C. Spencer on April 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Katherine Ayres specializes in "period piece" kid fiction. Like her SILVER DOLLAR GIRL, this one takes readers into the crisis zone with lots of details. This Depression story opens up pssiibilities for teachers to tie in a lot of history. Asking kids to ask their grandparents about THEIR years in the Dpression would be a good ending to the story, or take off on the tangent of how DOES a depression happen, who controls money, where does it come from and where does it go could be another one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since I live north east of the city of Pittsburgh....I really enjoyed this book. Most of the stores that were talked about....I have actually been there. I would recommend this book for good reading. I like the writing style of the author. She kept the book short and interesting. I also loved the characters that she brought to life. I could almost enjoy the smells of the strip district.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book! Its absolutely amazing! I suggest reading it! So worth the money!! :) I would especially suggest it for 5th-7th graders!
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By Chris Matheny on March 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book. I love the story line of the book and how Mike saves his uncle. When I looked at the cover of this, it didn't look to good but never judge a book by its cover. 5/5 From me.
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