Grk and the Phoney Macaroni – Joshua Doder

Grk and the Phoney Macaroni; Joshua Doder; Andersen; 2012

Book Summary (taken from Amazon UK):Dognapped! Grk is walking happily through the park, sniffing trees and chasing squirrels, when he’s suddenly snatched by two men in black suits. Where are they taking him? And how can Tim get him back? Tim and Grk’s eighth amazing adventure takes them to the home of pizza, pasta and the leaning tower of Pisa. There they meet the Duke of Macaroni, a man with a terrible secret which he will do anything to hide.

(Last week Josh wrote an exclusive guest post for Literature for Lads on how the adventures of Grk are often based around where he wants to eat… To read it click here) 

Literature for Lads Review:
Grk is a small dog with black eyes, white fur with black patches and a perky little tail.  Along with his owner Tim he has been on seven previous adventures (don’t worry if you haven’t read any of the previous novels, they each work as standalones), taking him all across the world.  In this latest adventure Grk is dognapped and flown to Italy leaving Tim to try and rescue him from the evil clutches of the Duke of Macaroni.

This is the first Grk book that I have read and it was thoroughly enjoyable! Full of adventure, suspense and it’s fair share of laughs, Josh Doder ensures we are hooked into the story with an intriguing end to the 1st chapter.  Each chapter that follows is full of a good mix of action, mystery and humour, and all of this is usually crammed into 5/6 pages.  These short, sharp chapters make the book very readable and will appeal to younger readers who will enjoy the bite size nature of the chapters.

Younger readers will also enjoy travelling along with Tim on his mission to rescue Grk.  Although unlikely to find themselves in similar situations to those that Tim does, they will love to imagine that they could end up in a situation not too dissimilar. The fact that Tim has no magic powers or fancy gadgets to help him on his quest makes the story all the more realistic.  The lack of these elements is strangely refreshing and somewhat bizarrely gives the novel an element of originality.

Like all good adventurers Tim does of course have a friend he can rely on and the character of Alessandara will ensure the book has an appeal to girls as well as boys.  The fact that Alessandara speaks on occasion in Italian adds a nice little learning element to the book. This is in addition to the many cultural (not to mention food!) references about Italy that the reader is exposed to.

The book moves along at a good pace and has plenty to keep young readers entertained, particularly a clever twist near the end of the book which I admit I didn’t see coming.  The tales of Grk are good old fashioned adventure stories, something that maybe we are lacking at the moment. At a time when technology is king Josh Doder should be congratulated for being brave enough to ditch the gadgets and magic and concentrate on telling a right good story.
Marks out of 10: 7


Here is Josh talking about Grk takes Revenge, the 6th book in the series…
For more information on Josh and the other Grk books (including an interview with Grk himself!) click here