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Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer…

Al Capone Does My Shirts (original 2004; edition 2006)

by Gennifer Choldenko

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0972341,830 (3.99)82
Title:Al Capone Does My Shirts
Authors:Gennifer Choldenko
Info:Perfection Learning (2006), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:Alcatraz, history, historical fiction, family, middle school, humor

Work details

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (2004)

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» See also 82 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
Moose and his family move to Alcatraz because his father gains employment as a prison guard and electrician at the prison housing the United States most dangerous criminals. Moose and his family and friends will bring readers into a world only very few were fortunate to live in.
  kfh2 | Jun 8, 2014 |
“Al Capone Does My Shirts” is the story of a young boy growing up on Alcatraz Island after his father gets a job working for the prison. The story follows the boys’ adventures with his sister and the other kids on the island. The main idea of this story is a boy stuck between growing up and being a responsible adult and wanting to be a mischievous kid with his friends at the same time. One way the author does this is by often telling what the boy, Moose, is thinking. Whether it’s his frustration of having to watch his sister while his friends play or wanting to be a part of the laundry service but not wanting his father to get angry with him. The author will state Moose’s internal struggle with many events in his life to get this across. Another way the author proves this message is through Moose’s final mischievous act, writing Al Capone a letter. In the end, Moose finds a happy medium between still being a kid by writing this illegal letter and being an adult by trying to help his sister. Overall, I thought this was a great, clever, and fun book. I kept wanting to turn the page and not stop reading. It follows the story of a typical kid growing up but in a very untypical environment. I also, thought the ending of this story was very dramatic and kept be thinking long after I finished the book which is another way to message was greatly supported. ( )
  CarolinePfrang | May 6, 2014 |
“Al Capone Does My Shirts” was a suspenseful book that I really enjoyed reading. What I liked most was how detailed the characters were because it allowed me to connect to the story better. For example, when Natalie started to become anxious or upset I would find myself feeling the same way. I also liked how suspenseful the storyline was, with Piper's constant schemes and the plans with Natalie always being up in the air it felt like with one event everything could change so quickly. The main idea of this story was to remember how important family is and also to inform people about life on Alcatraz island. ( )
  CatherineWillett | Apr 28, 2014 |
A fun and heart warming story of a boy moved to Alcatraz with his busy parents and his "10" year old sister. He is protective of her and deals with the stigmas of having a "special" sister. Moose, the main character, corresponds with Al Capone, who surprisingly isn't a big character in this book. This book would appeal to 4th and 5th graders.
  astares | Apr 27, 2014 |
This book is a chapter book about a boy, Moose Flanagan, who lives on Alcatraz Island. The book is written in a diary format and follows Moose’s daily life during the time when his family is trying to prepare his sister Natalie, who has a mental disability, to attend the Esther P. Marinoff School, which is a school that cares for children with mental disabilities. The main point of this book is to show an untypical family. It's main messages were about family, friendship, and acceptance. I really loved this book! One thing that I really liked about the book was the narration. I really liked how the book was written in a diary format. I liked the simple style of the writing and Moose’s matter-of-fact tone "I' shrug. I'm not wild about playing second, but when you're new, you're new." I think it gave tremendous insight into how things work in Moose's world. A second thing I really loved about this book was the ending! I thought it was perfect! Although the men on the island were in general awful people who did a lot of horrific things, the book humanizes them a little in certain ways such as 105's talking to Natalie, Al Capone’s mother’s visiting the island, and Al Capone's helping Moose in the end. A third thing I really liked about this book was the author’s note at the end. I really like it when authors connect their book to real life and facts, especially in historical fiction. I really enjoyed reading the facts about Alcatraz and about Natalie’s condition. I think that reading about Natalie’s condition in particular really reminds the reader, at least it reminded me, that these characters were living in a vastly different time then we are today in regards to acceptance of individuals with any kind of differences. The author’s note also connected to the humanization of the convicts, especially Al Capone. It was interesting to read that Al Capone did have some good qualities about him, such as opening soup kitchens after the stock market crash, and knowing that about him made the ending seem to be an even better choice. ( )
  MelissaPatek | Apr 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 234 (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.
First words
Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Matthew Flanagan detto Moose e la sua famiglia si trasferiscono a vivere sull’isola di Alcatraz, famosa per il penitenziario dove fu rinchiuso anche Al Capone, oltre ai più pericoli malviventi e delinquenti negli anni ‘40 e ’50. Lo scopo dei Flanagan, in particolare della madre è preciso: desiderano che Natalie, sorella maggiore di Moose, una ragazza autistica, possa essere accolta in una prestigiosa scuola del luogo, forse per lei l’unica speranza di qualche miglioramento e inserimento nella vita collettiva. Tra nuove amicizie, partite di baseball e avventure buffe o drammatiche trascorrono sei mesi fondamentali per la vita di tutti i Flanagan, e Al Capone (forse) ne è anche un poco responsabile, chissà…
(Charles Duff Description Below)
Quite an amazing setting indeed, young Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz Island with his mother, Guardsman father, and his younger sister Natalie.  Right from the get go, we learn as a reader that Natalie is special.  She is able to compute numbers in seconds and have fascinations with certain objects.  As Moose tries to navigate and interact with his schoolmates, namely the uppity daughter of the Warden, Piper, Moose must protect and care for his sister.  As a class read for a 3rd or 4th grade class, the teacher could ease students into learning about Autism.  As entertaining as the book can be, it can also be used for constructive conversations on disabilities, namely Autism.  For more teaching resources on Autism, check out:http://www.autism-pdd.net/testdump/te...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142403709, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:44 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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