Al Capone Does My Shirts Book reviews


Author(s): Gennifer CholdenkoDownload  


Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I’m not the only kid who lives here. There’s my sister, Natalie, except she doesn’t count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook’s or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don’t want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you’re me. I came here because my mother said I had to.

Some Reviews: 3953 in


Tina  rated it      

A middle grade Newberry Honor book that a big kid like me could fully appreciate. Based on historical facts, this book takes place on the Island of Alcatraz in 1935. It’s the story of Moose Flanagan and his family who are forced to move to Alcatraz when Moose’s father takes a job as electrician and guard at the prison. A place where tough criminals like Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly were incarcerated. Moose is 12 and trying to find his way in a new community while helping care of his special needs sister Natalie. Today, Natalie would most likely be diagnosed as Autistic, but in 1935 Autism had yet to be named.

This is a book both funny and touching. I chose the audio version of the book and the narrator did not disappoint. Excited to read or listen to the next book in the series.

Annmarie Hernandez

Annmarie Hernandez rated it      

When you hear the word ALCATRAZ what comes to your mind,to me Alcatraz island means the place on Earth where the worst criminals of society go to.Al Capone is a well known criminal of his time and he gets the duty of washing and drying clothes. Al Capone washes all island citizen’s clothes but 1 kid named Moose finds it surprising that he actually gets to say that Al Capone does his shirts.I recommend this book to people who like true stories and books about the one and only Alcatraz island. Al Capone seems to be a major part in Moose’s life just because he does his shirts but is that the only reason why.You need to read this book to find out.

Gina Baik

Gina Baik rated it     

I didn’t think I’d like this book so much when I started reading this wonderful book. A story about how a family lives on Alcatraz, an island with the worst criminals in the world. Moose’s father recently got a job as a guard and a electrician at the Alcatraz so now his family gets to have the “glory” of being neighbors with criminals and living on a island. Moose has a sister, Natalie. You could say she’s a bit extraordinary. I say this because she is a bit retarded for her age, sixteen. She likes to count, listen to her family read indexes of books to her, do math, and eat lemon cake. She uses the language of a kid around the age of six or eight and gets tantrums every now and then. Natalie was rejected by a special school for children like her so now Moose has to baby sit her every afternoon. At first Moose is real annoyed by the fact that he had the responsibility of keeping his sister safe every weekday but didn’t mind a bit later because he had started to build a strong relationship with her. Then one day Natalie keeps saying the number 105. Moose later finds out that it was the number of one of the convicts she had gotten close with. The end of this book is kind of had to summarize because one, I haven’t even explained who Al Capone is, two, well that’s it. Well I think you should definitely read this book because it’s a fun and easy read. Well BYEEEEEEEEE


Jocelyn rated it     

I loved Al Capone Does My Shirts! At first, I was intrigued by the title. Written in the first person, twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan tells us of his new life as a resident of Alcatraz because his father took two jobs there – prison guard and electrician. Set in the Depression era, 1930’s, the family struggles with the fact that Moose’s older sister, Natalie, has a mental condition which we now know as autism. Moose is three years younger than her but acts as her protector and babysitter. He is fiercely loyal but struggles with his own need to make friends and play his beloved baseball. He meets a group of children who also live on the prison island and they get into some trouble when the warden’s daughter, Piper, creates a scheme to make money using Al Capone’s name.

The ending is perfect! After I put it down, I kept wondering what Moose was doing.


Beth rated it      

What makes me really love a book is when the author is a master at creating characters so vivid that you can either get behind them or you want to smack them because you hate them so much.

Choldenko does a great job of doing both in this book. You really feel for the main character, Moose, and the horrible reality of his situation having basically lost his childhood because he has to look after his autistic sister, Natalie, all the time.

You want to smack Moose’s mother for being so oblivious to the fact that he’s still a kid and shouldn’t have to take on adult responsibilities the way she’s imposed them on him. And also the fact that she doesn’t seem to give any consideration to what he wants and needs because she’s so focused on her child with the disability. I think this book, while a work of fiction, is a really great testament to the hardship that some families face when dealing with a child with a disability.

I had heard that this was a really great book for a couple years now and now that I’ve gotten around to reading it, I was pleasantly surprised that it met and exceeded my expectations.


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