Thursday, January 14, 2010

Book Review: Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts is the phrase to use to increase your fame.  Or fortune.  It also happens to be true of Moose Flanagan and his family.  Moose's father just got a job as a guard at the infamous prison Alcatraz and he has uprooted Moose from all his friends and his former life to live on the island.  Moose is trying to fit into his new school, avoid the warden's daughter who is trouble, and help his sister Natalie, who isn't like other children.  

Al Capone Does My Shirts
Things I Liked   
This is a fantastic book that combines great writing, a unique story, realistic characters, and an interesting setting.  I loved all the funny stuff Moose makes up about the island and the criminals.  This book had me laughing, crying, hoping, and smiling, and loving every minute of it. (I couldn't resist that second quote :)
"I peek out the front window of our new apartment and look up to see a little glass room lit bright in the dark night.  This is the dock guard tower, a popcorn stand on stilts where somebody's dad sits with enough firepower to blow us all to smithereens." p4
"That's the thing about the cell house library," I say, "it's a high-risk operation."..."Books are overdue, I explain, "they lock you up.  They have a special cell for it.  Overdue library book cell.  If it's more than ten days overdue, they put you in the hole.  Solitary confinement." p77
Things I Didn't Like:
I got angry at how Moose's mom treated him, because she was completely focused on Natalie, though I am certain it was a realistic portrayal.

Reminded me of The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *****

If you buy through my Amazon linkage,
I will get a very small percentage


  1. I loved this book, too. It turned out to be a completely different story than what I expected, but wonderful nonetheless. Glad you enjoyed it :)


  2. This has been on my list for ages...and I keep reading reviews like yours that remind of about it...someday!

  3. This sounds really good. From what I've heard about it, it reminds me of Rules by Cynthia Lord, which I loved.

  4. It was so fun for me to go to Alcatraz shortly after reading this book. Made it all that much more cool. I need to read the next book.

  5. Susan, it was kind of not what I expected, but better!

    Charlotte, soon! You won't regret it.

    Kim, I've been meaning to read Rules for a very long time. Slacker me.

    Suey, it's been many years since I saw Alcatraz, but I bet it was fun right after reading the book!

  6. If you liked the first one, read the second, Al Capone Shines My Shoes which deals even more with Moose's sister. I was angry at Moose's mom too, good writing!

  7. Bill, I am hoping to get my hands on that second one soon!


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