Grk and the Phoney Macaroni by Joshua Doder

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Grk and the Phoney Macaroni by Joshua Doder

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A real page-turner of an adventure set in Rome and great reading for boys who are moving on to 'real' books rather than early readers. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Andersen
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1842709320

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The last time we met Grk (he's the dog, by the way) he was in Australia, but don't worry if you haven't read any of the seven earlier books in this series - they all read well as stand-alones. This time it might seem as though it's going to be a very local adventure with Mrs Malt taking Tim, Natasha and Max to the Natural Science Museum whilst Grk says in the car. Things are not as they look, though - for Grk is going to be dog-napped from the local park and whisked off to Italy with Tim in pursuit. On the way he's going to encounter Giovanni Mascarpone, the thirteenth Duke of Macaroni, his vicious bodyguards and quite a lot of people whose names are going to put you in mind of Italian food.

Now this is a tense story - even for someone many times the age of the intended reader. I simply couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened to Tim and Grk. The Duke of Macaroni wants to be the next Italian Prime Minister but he has a dreadful secret which he would do anything to keep secret. Well, actually, I think he has more than one dreadful secret and there was certainly one twist near to the end of the book which I didn't see coming.

It's a great adventure story for boys who are just beginning to emerge from the stage of decoding what they see on the page and developing as people who read for the pleasure of the story. There are no amusing pictures and acres of white space to make the pages turn faster - the chapters might be helpfully short (averaging out at rather less than five pages each) but this is essentially a proper book and not an early reader.

We've long been fans of the author who is probably better known as Josh Lacey. He's reliable and he writes the sort of story to which boys can relate and this series is set in the real world with no tricks to get the hero out of a difficult situation. It's definitely a book to buy as it has real re-readability and no current cultural references which are going to make it feel dated in a very short time. Great stuff.

I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For more of Rome - albeit many years ago - and for another good adventure we can recommend The Sewer Demon: The Roman Mystery Scrolls by Caroline Lawrence.

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Buy Grk and the Phoney Macaroni by Joshua Doder at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Grk and the Phoney Macaroni by Joshua Doder at


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