Monday, August 16, 2010

Review- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan has just moved to Alcatraz where his father works as an electrician.  The year is 1935.  Al Capone is imprisoned in Alcatraz at this time.

1.  This book is very multidimensional.  It deals with Moose's coming of age, making friends in a new place, his relationships with his parents, and his relationship with his autistic older sister, Natalie.
2.  Natalie is a wonderful character.  The author does a great job of imagining and describing Moose and Natalie's relationship.  Sometimes Moose resents her, just like a "regular" sister, but mostly he truly loves her and wants what is best for her.
3. The other characters are well-developed too.
4.  This book is heavy on the thematic issue of Natalie's autism, but keeps the sex and language appropriate for children.  I think that's important because this kind of book could be wonderful for a child with a sibling with autism.
5.  This book is FUNNY!   Moose is a great narrator, and the shenanigans of the other kids on the island are great to read about.

1.  I really don't like Moose's mother.  She is not a bad person, just very concerned about Natalie, and I wish there was more development with her.
2.  It would have been nice to have more interaction with the convicts.  There is very little in the way of action in this book.
3.  I would love to read a sequel!  I definitely want more of this book.
4.  Struggling here... Nope. That's it.  No more lows.

Conclusion-  4 stars.  I highly enjoyed this book, and I recommend that you give it a whirl if it sounds interesting.  Moms and teachers- consider reading it with/to your kids, ages maybe 7 and up!


  1. Very interesting book! Maybe a bit too young for me, but I'd love to read it with children in mind. Great review!

  2. The title alone makes me want to pick this one up. Nice review!