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Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres

Macaroni Boy

by Katherine Ayres

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Macaroni Boy
By: Katherine Ayres

Summary: Mike Costa is a sixth-grade boy living in Pittsburgh during the time of the Depression. A boy Any Simms teases Mike calling him “macaroni boy” because family makes a living selling wholesale groceries. Mike’s grandpap becomes seriously ill and he begins throwing up blood. Around the same time dead rats start to appear in the streets and the tormenting from Andy gets worse. Mike believes there is a connection with the dead rats and his grandpap. With the help of his best friend Joseph Ryan, they try to solve the mystery. One day Mike sees Andy throwing up in the boy’s room and notices that there is blood in his through up also. Mike befriends Andy and finds out that the illness is being caused by the fish in the Allegheny River which the city had been dumping chemical waste into.

Personal Reaction: I really enjoyed this story, the book was wonderfully written.

Classroom Extension Ideas: This book could be used to introduce the Depression. Students could also share things that their best friends have helped them with.
  KaseyDawson | Oct 4, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440418844, Paperback)

Mike Costa has lived his whole life in The Strip, Pittsburgh’s warehouse and factory district. His father’s large Italian family runs a food wholesale business, and Mike is used to the sounds and smells of men working all night to unload the trains that feed the city. But it’s 1933, and the Depression is bringing tough times to everyone. Money problems only add to Mike’s worries about his beloved grandfather, who is getting forgetful and confused.

Mike is being tormented at school by a loud-mouth named Andy Simms, who calls Mike “Macaroni Boy.” But when dead rats start appearing in the streets, that name changes to “Rat Boy.” Around the same time Mike notices that his grandfather is also physically sick. Can whatever is killing the rats be hurting Mike’s grandfather? It’s a mystery Mike urgently needs to solve in this atmospheric, fast-paced story filled with vibrant period detail.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In Pittsburgh in 1933, sixth-grader Mike Costa notices a connection between several strange occurrences, but the only way he can find out the truth about what's happening is to be nice to the class bully. Includes historical facts.

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