Kevin Meece's Reviews > Al Capone Does My Shirts

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
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Feb 23, 2012

really liked it

I thought that this was a successful coming-of-age story: funny, somewhat whimsical, yet still deals with the harsh realities of life. I can kind of see this book being made into a movie, in the same vein as "Holes" I suppose.

"Al Capone Does My Shirts" tells the story of Moose Flanagan, a 12 year old who has to move to Alcatraz Island with his family. This is because his father got a job as a prison guard as well, as it provides an opportunity for his 16 year old sister, Natalie, to attend a special school. Natalie is autistic. The character of Natalie and her relationship with Moose was the most interesting part of the book for me. Sweet, thought melancholic. I thought that the topic of autism, mixed with the historical setting where autistm wasn't recognized yet, was handled quite nicely. I think that many kids could benefit in reading about the struggles that Melissa had to face. It would really get students thinking.

Moose was an amusing narrator. The syntax was basic, yet descriptive. Vocabulary was appropriate for 5th graders on up. Probably even younger.

I really liked learning about the prison life. The setting was definitely unique.

Overall, a sweet book (with a sweet ending) that has hints of something more sinister. I liked it.
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