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Macaroni Boy

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  208 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
During the Great Depression, a boy who faces bullying stumbles upon a mystery and comes of age in this novel that integrates fact and opinion and has a rich 1930’s vocabulary. Extra material: An Author’s Note is included in the back of the book.

Mike Costa has lived his whole life in The Strip, Pittsburgh’s warehouse and factory district. His father’s large Italian family r
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 13th 2004 by Yearling (first published 2003)
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Alex Blose
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mike Costa is a sixth-grade boy living in Pittsburgh during the time of the Great Depression. A sick grandpap, a blown-up banana factory, a bully named Andy Simms, mysterious dead hobos, dead rats littering the streets and the possibility of the family's store, Costa Brothers, going under are all problems that Mike tries to solve with the help of his best friend, Joseph Ryan.

Mike, "Rat Boy" or "Macaroni Boy", as Simms likes to call him is Italian-blooded, and cares a lot about his family. So whe
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st-trimester
The book is called Macaroni boy and it is about this boy named Mike and he is someone that is bullied the bully is called andy simms and he always calls his name his first name was macaroni boy and now he started to call mike rat boy and mike hates that name.Andy calls him rat boy because mike always has rats and even kept a rat and named it old snicky. Mikes parents worked at a grocery shop called Costa Brothers and Mike would always go there. Mike would always catch rats and once he threw a r ...more
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1st-trimester
This story is about a boy named Mike Costa. It takes place in a town, the Strip. Mike thinks he never did anything wrong, so why was Andy Simms always bullying him? Mike is a good boy. He has food and money even though it is during the great depression. He sounds almost perfect doesn't he? Well he isn't, no one is perfect. Mike's Grandpap is becoming more and more forgetful as the days go by. Mike starts worrying about him, then Grandpap gets worse! Mike saw Grandpap throw up blood. Then Mike c ...more
William Smith
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing

The story “Macaroni Boy” is a story about a boy named Mike Costa, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the Great Depression. His family is of Italian descent and they own a food warehouse. Mike is often the target of the school bully who calls him “rat boy” because he (Mike) kills the mice in the warehouse. When he notices his grandfather is getting sick, he does his best to figure out what is going on by using the rats as test subjects. Mike tries desperately to find the caus
Oct 28, 2014 rated it liked it
The book Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres is a realistic fiction book based on true facts. It is about a boy called Mike Costa growing up in the Pittsburgh, PA strip district during the Great Depression. His family is from Italy and they opened a company called the Costa Brothers that sells Macaroni mostly. Mike struggles through school while a kid in his class called Andy Simms bullies him. He strives to achieve the cause to his grandpa's sickness and of many others. Read as determined Mike sea ...more
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Macaroni Boy" is a depression-era realistic fiction novel that takes place in Pittsburgh, PA. Mike Costa and his best friend Joseph realize there is a lot going on in their small part of the city known as the Strip District and they start to wonder if there is any connection. A sick grandpap, a bully named Andy Simms, a factory explosion, dead hobos, dead rats...could there be a link?

Mike discovers that his grandpap is having stomach problems, and since he cares so deeply for his grandpap and t
Nov 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Macaroni Boy is one of those books which does have a storyline, but spends most of its time covering day-to-day occurrences, and whose storyline is a pretty small instance in somebody's life. A lot of this book talks about Mike's school troubles, his family's financial troubles (which is a theme that cannot be ignored in a Great Depression-era novel), and other such things. The storyline itself takes a little while to appear, and when it finally comes around, you are not certain if it's the stor ...more
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st-trimester
I think Mike is a nice kid because he really cared about his grandpa and he was trying to find out who blew up the shop. Grandpa blew it up that is shocking because he is a nice guy. Mike had a lot of things going on while finding out the mystery. When Mike was a little kid he hit Andy in the face on accident but Andy didn't think it was on accident so Andy decided to get back at Mike. Andy got in a fight with Mike but when it was all over people told them to brake it up.

My thoughts were that th
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Macaroni Boy, by Katherine Ayres.
I read this little book a while back. This book provides a few interesting history lessons about the Great Depression and how things used to be. It is short and targeted with younger audiences. There's a little comedy, a little adventure, but not to much. Although it is targeted to younger readers, it does contain a few things that may be offensive. To start off the 'author' (the person in the perspective of the book) poisons a rat near the end of the book
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Mike lives in Pittsburgh, PA during the Depression. Out of all of the neighborhood boys, he comes from the most well off family. The boys resent him and call him Macaroni Boy because his family is Italian and makes a living selling wholesale groceries. For the most part, Mike endures the teasing, until dead rats start showing up around the warehouse. His name becomes Rat Boy and the teasing gets more hostile. All the while, Mike's grandfather falls ill and rapidly declines in health. Mike believ ...more
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-for-fun
While this is considered a juvenile book I didn't find it beneath me to read. In fact I quite enjoyed this story that took place in Pittsburgh's Strip District circa 1936. Told from the perspective of adolescent Mike Costa whose family have an Italian foods import business it is alive with local points of interest like St.Paul's church and Klavon's ice cream store. Something is making people sick and Mike sets out to find out what. Yes Pittsburgh was a dirty city once and this tale brings that p ...more
Tina Demas Broccolo
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful for 6th graders. It's told from a boy's perspective and is set during the depression. It really puts life in perspective while also dealing with bullying and how to befriend an enemy for a common goal. The main character is adventurous and funny. He also has to deal with a sick grandfather that he is very found of and how the family is affected by caring for him. It's a great book for this age group!
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a great story! It was so interesting because of its setting in the Strip District of Pgh, a place I know well. There was a lot of attention paid to historical accuracy, which I appreciate, but like the American Girl books she wrote, Ayres has enough of a story line and character development to keep an adult interested. Glad I read this one!
Sue Carr
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kathy Ayres is a good friend and incredible teller of historical tales. If you ever have the chance, pick up one (or more) of her YA fiction. This one captures Pittsburgh sights, sounds, and smells in a way that will transport and fascinate the reader, and weaves a mystery that will keep kids (and adults) guessing to the end.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a really good book and its got real facts. This book is about a boy who gets bullied and him and his family is growing up in the great depression and hes trying to help his family with their store.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's definitely a book for kids. I enjoyed the Pittsburgh elements, having been to a The Strip many times. The "mystery" was good & Depression info slim but good. I think it could have had a bit more info and story line, but what's here is well done,
Brooklyn Hengesbach
Sep 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a realistic fiction book. It's based on real facts. It is about a boy and his family that is growing in Pittsburgh during the great depression.The boy is bullied by this other boy and he is trying to help run the business that his family has.
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and then when I started using the app I was able to do my summary for school
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
it was a very interesting book i had to read it during battle of the books in 5th grade and i fell in love with it.. i read like 3 times already lol
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Perfectly serviceable historical fiction set during the Great Depression.
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
I couldn't actually finish this book, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get into it and get past the first couple chapters.
Mar 12, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was about this dude who lives in depression times. His grandpa starts throwing up blood and Mike or Macaroni Boy needs to find out why. It was really long!!
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1st-trimester
This was one of the greatest books of all time because it's about this boy named mike and he has a grandpop got sick so he has to try to find out why everybody is getting sick
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great story!!!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A boy in 1933 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, discovers that the river water is being poisoned by local industry.
Miss Durkin
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this story because it took place in my hometown of Pittsburgh. It did have some gritty parts though, including exploding bananas and dead rats!
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it
A good book about a boy growing up in the Depression.
Michelle Casey
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Classic Ayers style writing if you have been introduced to her American Girl stories. Mike struggles at times but perseveres and does the right thing and in the process solves a mystery.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
What a great BOY-book! I read this with my 9 year old son. He loved it and I could clearly see what he enjoyed. I liked the message throughout the story of Mike having a purpose(duty) in life.
Maddy Grove
Macaroni Boy is a wonderful historical fiction book. Its an eye opening glance into the great depression. A short easy fun read.
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Katherine Ayres is the author of ten books for children and teenagers. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA where she teaches writing to graduate students and Chatham University.

At age 19 she appeared on the TV show, To Tell the Truth--as a liar. "It was good practice for becoming a fiction writer," she says. "These days I have to make up stuff all the time. And I like it!"

Then, as now, Ayres was a convin
More about Katherine Ayres...

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