Al Capone Does My Homework (Tales from Alcatraz Series #3)

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Overview

Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn't the most normal place to grow up, but it's home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose's dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it's a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan's apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist....

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Al Capone Does My Homework (Tales from Alcatraz Series #3)

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Overview

Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn't the most normal place to grow up, but it's home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose's dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it's a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan's apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose's dad too? If Moose can't figure out what Capone's note means, it may be too late.

The last heart-pounding installment in the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor-winning Alcatraz trilogy is not to be missed!

"Superlative historical fiction." — School Library Journal (starred review for Al Capone Shines My Shoes)

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

For other kids, growing up on a high security prison island might be a dream or a nightmare, but for Moose Flanagan, it is just his everyday life. As the offspring of a guard, Moose and his autistic sister Natalie make their home on Alcatraz Island off the coast of San Francisco. At first, the news that their father has been promoted to Associate Warden seems like an unmixed blessing. Only later does the family realize that Moose's dad new job makes him a prime target for angry cons. Nevertheless, when a fire breaks out at their apartment, Natalie is singled out wrongfully as the prime suspect. To catch the real culprit, Moose and his school buddies search for clues. Then they receive unexpected help from an unlikely source: "Scarface" Al Capone. The capstone volume in a refreshingly original trilogy set in the 1930s; now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Newsday
"Choldenko's storytelling is compelling, portraying human decency as a force more powerful than heroism."
starred review Booklist
"Rich characterization, tender drama, and sleuthworthy clues, this poignant mystery makes for a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the landmark historical trilogy."
The Horn Book
"Choldenko's multifaceted novel offers something for everyone-history, mystery, intrigue, and humor. Ultimately, though, it's this extremely likable boy working through friendships and crushes, on the one hand, and wrestling with family and community problems, on the other, that has held our attention through three books."
Publishers Weekly
This final installment in the life of Moose Flanagan, a boy who lives on Alcatraz Island during the 1930s, brings Choldenko’s trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. The story opens with good news: Moose’s father, Cam, has been promoted to associate warden of the island’s infamous prison. But the new job makes Cam a target, and the family feels the backlash immediately when a suspicious fire breaks out at their apartment while Moose and his developmentally disabled sister, Natalie, are home alone. A malicious neighbor suggests Natalie started the blaze, inciting problems with the special boarding school Natalie attends. Mean-while, money is changing hands in odd ways around the island, and inmate No. 85 (Capone) sends Moose another cryptic note, written on Moose’s homework (“Luckily, he wrote in pencil”), which helps Moose and his affable gang sort the good guys from the bad. Choldenko continues to infuse the Alcatraz community with warmth and originality (the kids play “rock, newspapers, shiv”). Despite being “the roughest hard-time prison in America,” by the end of this winning series, it’s also a place Moose comes to proudly call home. Ages 10–up. (Aug.)
Horn Book
Choldenko's multifaceted novel offers something for everyone-history, mystery, intrigue, and humor. Ultimately, though, it's this extremely likable boy working through friendships and crushes, on the one hand, and wrestling with family and community problems, on the other, that has held our attention through three books.
Booklist (starred review)
". . .baseballs, bottle caps, and carrier-cockroaches, [Moose] and the other island kids take on gambling debts, missing knives, a murder plot, a counterfeit ring, even pixie secrets . . . . Especially noteworthy is the author's sensitive ability to humanize heroes and villains alike, grounding the tense action in palpable reality. With rich characterization, tender drama, and sleuth-worthy clues, this poignant mystery makes for a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the landmark historical trilogy."
VOYA - Beth Karpas
This eagerly awaited finale to the Alcatraz series should please existing fans. Set almost entirely on Alcatraz, the book quickly enters the life of Moose Flanagan, thirteen-year-old son of the associate warden. Moose and his family, along with the families of the other employees of Alcatraz, live on the island and take the ferry into San Francisco as needed. Moose's older sister, Nat, is autistic and spends most of her time at a boarding school in the city. As the story begins, it is the weekend and Moose is watching Nat while his parents go out. He awakens to find his room full of smoke and the apartment on fire. Moose and Nat get out, but who set the fire, why, and how are the central themes of the book. Other familiar characters such as Piper, the warden's daughter, bring their own mysteries to the plot, and Nat's theme of growing independence is both believable and inspiring. Choldenko paints a vivid picture of life for the children of 1930s Alcatraz. The reader knows Moose. Secondary and tertiary characters are drawn as clearly as Moose, and this may be, in part, why the first book in the series won a Newbery Honor. Others have suggested reading the first two titles first, and if you enjoy them, it may increase your understanding of this title; however, this book also stands well on its own, from both a plot and character development perspective, and would be a fine title to introduce to readers. Reviewer: Beth Karpas
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Moose is very proud that his father is now the Assistant Warden of Alcatraz, but he quickly learns that with that title comes some danger from cons and guards alike. When a suspicious fire ruins their apartment, some on Alcatraz accuse Moose's developmentally-disabled sister Natalie, now 16 of causing it. Moose fiercely defends and protects his sister. Other strange things are happening on the island as well—gambling, cockroach messengers, theft, a missing knife, and counterfeiting. Moose and his friends piece together enough of the various puzzles to straighten things out. Capone plays a very minor role in the story, but it is one of his clues that helps Moose solve part of the mystery. Choldenko once again does a terrific job with her characters, especially Moose and his family. She captures their different ways of handling Natalie and her disability, their weariness, embarrassment, and worry, and their established roles within the family. Moose is wise and responsible beyond his age, partly because of Natalie. He is often responsible for her and has an understanding of her abilities and behaviors that the adults don't. Yet his feelings about her are complicated, and Choldenko allows the reader to see some of his resentment. While a strong conclusion to this trilogy (see also Al Capone Does My Shirts, Al Capone Shines My Shoes), the book does stand alone. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—This conclusion to the trilogy picks up four months after Al Capone Shines My Shoes (Dial, 2009). Moose still feels the burden of looking out for his loved ones: protecting his father, newly promoted to Associate Warden; and caring for sister, whose latest challenge is learning to make eye contact with people. One night when he is babysitting Natalie, a fire breaks out in the family's apartment. Moose fears it's his fault because he fell asleep, and the resentful Trixle family blames Natalie. Moose and the Alcatraz kids (Piper, Annie, Jimmy, and Theresa) band together to find out what really caused the fire. Adding to the mystery, island residents are suddenly receiving anonymous gifts. Multiple reveals keep the pages turning quickly. Choldenko is unsurpassed at interweaving plot with historical detail, drawing a touching parallel between Natalie and first-term President Franklin Roosevelt. She uses Capone's celebrity status as a foil to Moose's father, which helps the 13-year-old appreciate his father's understated strengths. The trilogy ends on an uplifting note for Moose and Natalie. Choldenko hints that Natalie's math skills could lead to a meaningful life for her and Moose won't always have the weight of the world on his shoulders. His dad reassures him: "All you can do is try to inspire each person to be their best self." While the book ably stands alone, it delivers a satisfying conclusion to readers who've grown fond of this cast of characters.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Newbery Honoree Choldenko brings her trilogy about a boy and his unusual life on Alcatraz Island to a bittersweet end. Now 13, Moose feels more responsible than ever for his autistic older sister, Natalie. So when a fire starts in his family's apartment one evening while his parents are out, he's sure it's somehow his fault. Did Natalie start the fire after he nodded off? Moose and the other Alcatraz kids don't think so, but they find it's not so easy to prove when Natalie is unable to explain herself. Meanwhile, jealous prison guard Darby Trixle keeps giving Moose's dad a hard time for landing the job Darby believes he deserved, and mysterious wads of cash are showing up in the prison laundry. When Moose recovers a lost piece of his homework from the burned-out apartment covered in Al Capone's handwriting, it provides him with clues to the source of the random money and the motivation to clear Natalie's name. Choldenko consistently excels at penning pitch-perfect dialogue and balancing a large cast of original characters, and this title is no exception. But new readers will want to start with the series opener, as this is a true concluding volume. A satisfying finale to what has become a cornerstone series in contemporary children's literature. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142425220
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Series: Tales from Alcatraz Series , #3
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 73,163
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gennifer Choldenko is the New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor Award-winning author of ten children's books, including Notes From a Liar and Her Dog, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, No Passengers Beyond this Point, Al Capone Does My Shirts, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, and Al Capone Does My Homework. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

4 Star

(2)

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    Best Book

    I have read all the books in this series and I think this is the best one!!!!!!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    AMAZING Book

    I LOVED THIS BOOK AND ZLL THE OTHER ONES TBEY R ONE OF THE ONLY BOOKS I LIKE!!!!!!!!!!3,360 characters are left in this magiger thingy!!!!!!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    Ha

    Hahahahhahaaa

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Okay

    I heard from my friends this wa a great book. I would like ti read it but the sample is tooo short!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    I am from the future

    Whatever you humans do, dont let alcatraz be a prison ever! For if you do, zombies will come and take the world. Beware this warning

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    How do you do all the cool symbols

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    &hearts the Alcatraz series!

    Sooooooooo awesome!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Good

    I cant wait to read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    Anonymous

    Ffggrthn awsome

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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