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Al Capone Does My Shirts (2004)

by Gennifer Choldenko

Series: Moose Flanagan (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,3473211,839 (3.97)126
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.
  1. 00
    The London Eye Mystery by Siobhán Dowd (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both books deal with the relationship between an autistic adolescent and a sibling.
  2. 00
    Holes by Louis Sachar (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: With offbeat characters and distinctive settings, these well-paced, affecting and funny novels are about compassionate boys: Moose, caring for his autistic sister on Alcatraz Island (Al Capone); Stanley, who escapes from a juvenile detention camp to help another inmate (Holes).… (more)
  3. 00
    Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 00
    How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: Very short book that explains what it's like to have autism, and what you can do to help if you know someone with autism.
  5. 00
    Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (kaledrina)

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» See also 126 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
This book is about Moose. Him and his family move to Alcatraz because his dad is a guard and electrician on the island. The move is tough for Moose but it's is the least of his problems. His sister is different and struggles when it comes to school. She attempts to get into a school, not on Alcatraz, but is not accepted. Moose finds out that his sister has been talking to a con in jail on Alcatraz. He decides to write a letter to the con asking for help on getting his sister accepted into the school his parents want her to go to. He does this by sending it with his laundry, that the cons do. Miraculously his sister is accepted and Moose later finds a crude letter in his laundry.

This book was ok. It was a smaller novel I found at the used book sale. I didn’t expect much from it and I didn't receive much either. It wasn't really interesting in the sense that it had action and mystery in it. It was just kind of stuff that happened layed out event by event. It didn't have me on the edge of my seat, in fact it was quite slow and boring. Again I found at the used book sale, and it wasn't as challenging as I thought it would be. It was ok though, I wouldn't say it was bad. It was just not my kind of book per say. ( )
1 vote SHall.ELA5 | Jan 14, 2020 |
Moose Flannagan thinks his world has come to an end when his father gets a double job as guard and electrician at Alcatraz, and their family has to move there. (Historical note: most guards and their families, children and all, really did live on Alcatraz island with the prison.) Moose is really big for a 13-year-old, but he's a really good boy, and he helps look after his older sister Natalie, who would be diagnosed today as severely autistic. His father works all the time, and his mother is obsessed with finding treatment for Natalie. Knowing that children will get treatment more easily than teens or adults, Mrs. Flannagan has celebrated Natalie's 10th birthday, six times in a row. Her 15-year-old daughter is still being presented as a 10-year-old.
There are a few other children on Alcatraz, among them the sweet outgoing 7-year-old Teresa, and Moose's age, Piper, the devious, possible sociopath daughter of the prison warden.
The story's focus is mainly on how Moose copes with having a "10-year-old" older sister who can't function among other people. He loves his sister, but isn't blind to the ways he suffers because of her either.
I liked the twist at the very end. ( )
  fingerpost | Jul 29, 2019 |
Today I moved to Alcatraz, 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 are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cooks or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. And then 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. (Amazon)
  HeidiSki | Jul 18, 2019 |
An interesting story that engages readers young an old. The main character "Moose" embodies the typical 13 year old boy through funny hi jinks, drama filled antics, good-natured experiences with friends and family, and a whirlwind of feelings and angst about his current situation. Moose's family lives on Alcatraz island, his father is an electrician/guard. The families of employees lived on Alcatraz island during its 30 plus years of functionality as a prison. This story is set in the 1930's when prisoners like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and Roy Gardner were housed at Alcatraz island. Moose has a sister named, Natalie, that everyone thinks is different, but once her character's characteristics are revealed it's easy to demise that Natalie has Autism. Moose and Natalie's parents are forced to work a lot of hours in order to earn money for a special school for kids like Natalie and because of this Moose is charged with "watching" his older (she's 16 but her family tells everyone she's 8). A fun story that follows the everyday life of a 12 year old boy and what it was like to live on Alcatraz island as well as experience some of the historical entities that were happening during that time in San Francisco and bay bridge, building of Golden Gate Bridge, special school's were being utilized vs. institutions for children with disabilities, and hints to the much lower cost of living during this time. There is some content in which the topic of the possibility of "inappropriate touching" is inferred to happen between Natalie and an inmate. ( )
  MsSluvstech | Jul 17, 2019 |
I did not like this read. I really wanted to, my daughter and I had recently been to Alcatraz and she spoke highly of this book. I, I was disappointed. Rather than being about anything on the cover, title included, this book was mostly about a family learning to deal with their autistic daughter/sister. Definitely not what I was expecting. The characters are mostly dislikable - "Moose" whines a lot, the mom seems crazy, and Piper is a horrible, horrible girl. Over and over, I wondered what was wrong with these people, but not really caring at all. I will not be reading more in this series.

p.s. - I know this is a children's book, but it could easily be used for a drinking game! The author uses the name of the "Esther P. Marinoff School" more often than the "f" word is used in the movie "Midnight Run"! If you drink when you see those words, well, you ain't making it very far in these pages! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | May 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
Author Choldenko has written a funny and clever middle grade novel about a boy named Matthew (Moose) Flanagan who is living on Alcatraz Island with his family. The family has moved to the Island because Moose's father has found work as an electrician, and because his sister Natalie, who is autistic, can go to a good school nearby. Moose is not happy about living on the island, especially after meeting the Warden's daughter Piper who is bossy and a bit of a troublemaker. Moose's father has warned him to stay out of trouble because he needs this job and Natalie needs to go to the special school. Moose's life becomes miserable when Piper involves him and a few other island kids in a moneymaking scheme to have their schoolmates' clothes laundered by the convicts on Alcatraz Island. Piper tempts her school chums by claiming that Al Capone, the famous gangster, may even wash their shirts. The scheme falls apart when the Warden finds out what his daughter and friends are up to. Then, to make matters worse, the school that Natalie attends doesn't want her and she has to come home. Moose winds up watching her and has to forego his Monday after-school baseball game. This is an amusing book about interesting characters placed in a different and unlikely setting and trying to make the best of their situation. 2004, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Ages 10 up.

added by sriches | editChildren's Literature, Della Yannuzzi (Jul 24, 2009)
In 1935, notorious gangster Al Capone is one of three hundred convicts housed in the maximum-security penitentiary on Alcatraz Island. Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan also lives on the island. His father has taken a position as an electrician and guard at the prison in hopes that Moose's sister, Natalie, will be accepted at a special school in nearby San Francisco. Not only has Moose been forced to leave friends behind and move with his family to a fortress island, but he also cannot play baseball or make new friends now because he is stuck taking care of his sister whenever he is not in school. Natalie is afflicted with the condition now known as autism, and even at age sixteen, she cannot be left unsupervised. Everyone in the family has been under a strain because of Natalie's special needs. Meanwhile Piper, the warden's pretty, spoiled daughter, makes life complicated for Moose. The island's residents have their laundry done by the convicts, and thrill-seeking Piper drags Moose into her wild stunt of marketing Al Capone's laundry services to their middle school classmates in San Francisco. But when his family desperately needs a break in their efforts to get help for Natalie, Moose knows that only Piper has the connections and the audacity to help him pull off a reckless scheme involving the island's most famous inmate. Choldenko, author of Notes from a Liar and Her Dog (Putnam's, 2001/VOYA August 2001), weaves three As—Alcatraz, Al Capone, and autism—into an excellent historical novel for middle-grade readers. A large, annotated 1935 photograph of Alcatraz Island and an informative author's note give substance to the novel's factual sources. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J (Betterthan most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 240p., Ages 11 to 15.
added by sriches | editVOYA, Walter Hogan (Jul 24, 2009)
Gr 6-8-In this appealing novel set in 1935, 12-year-old Moose Flanagan and his family move from Santa Monica to Alcatraz Island where his father gets a job as an electrician at the prison and his mother hopes to send his autistic older sister to a special school in San Francisco. When Natalie is rejected by the school, Moose is unable to play baseball because he must take care of her, and her unorthodox behavior sometimes lands him in hot water. He also comes to grief when he reluctantly goes along with a moneymaking scheme dreamed up by the warden's pretty but troublesome daughter. Family dilemmas are at the center of the story, but history and setting-including plenty of references to the prison's most infamous inmate, mob boss Al Capone-play an important part, too. The Flanagan family is believable in the way each member deals with Natalie and her difficulties, and Moose makes a sympathetic main character. The story, told with humor and skill, will fascinate readers with an interest in what it was like for the children of prison guards and other workers to actually grow up on Alcatraz Island.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
added by sriches | editLibrary Journal, Miranda Doyle (Jul 24, 2009)
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To my sister, Gina Johnson,
and to all of us who loved her--
however imperfectly.
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Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water.
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Moose's family moves to a island thats population is made up of some of the most dangerous criminals. Moose struggles with loosing his childhood bestfriend, family struggles and the succlusion of the island.
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