Something bad’s going to happen. I can smell it in the air like a whiff of rotten garbage. I’m washing the dishes as fast as I can but the plates are piling up so high I’m surrounded by the great wall of china.
Al Dentay washes dishes in his uncle’s famous pasta restaurant. Then Al and his uncle. Lorenzo, are injured in a freak kitchen accident. In the ambulance on the way to hospital, Lorenzo gives Al his ring and pleads with him to destroy the spaghetti machine. Al and his friends Tubsy and Snotty are pursued by the evil Gorgonzola and his thugs as they race to find Lorenzo’s secret machine. They discover that wonder-chef Lorenzo was also a scientific genius who has built the most incredible machine…so mind-blowingly valuable to Gorgonzola’s bosses that the boys’ lives are in danger.
Al Dentay and the Incredible Spaghetti Machine is super-paced and action-packed. There are plenty of puns along the way and some truly awful nicknames. Al is browbeaten by his father and the restaurant manager Gorgonzola. Tubsy has more techno-gizmos than 007, and Snotty is as tough as anyone called ‘snotty’ needs to be. The stakes are high and keep getting higher as Gorgonzola pursues Al and his mates. Most of the adult characters are unpleasant and deserve the misfortunes that they encounter. Upper-primary readers, especially boys, will revel in the action and the technology.
Al Dentay and the Incredible Spaghetti Machine, by Bruce Atherton
Lothian Books, 2007