Al Capone Shines My Shoes (Tales from Alcatraz Series #2)

Al Capone Shines My Shoes (Tales from Alcatraz Series #2)

4.4 142
by Gennifer Choldenko, Kirby Heyborne

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When I first moved here, I thought all the bad guys were on one side of the bars and all the good guys were on the other. But lately, I’ve begun to wonder . . .

Moose’s family moved to Alcatraz so his father could work as a guard and his sister could attend a special school in San Francisco. Living on an island with a few hundred no-name hit men, con

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When I first moved here, I thought all the bad guys were on one side of the bars and all the good guys were on the other. But lately, I’ve begun to wonder . . .

Moose’s family moved to Alcatraz so his father could work as a guard and his sister could attend a special school in San Francisco. Living on an island with a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, and mad dog murderers (and a handful of bank robbers, too) has its challenges. Like Officer Darby–who seems to have it in for Moose; Jimmy–who feels jealous of Moose’s baseball friend Scout; Annie–who demands that Moose fess up to a secret that could get his family kicked off Alcatraz; and Piper, the warden’s cute, danger-loving daughter–who is as mad at Moose as often as she is sweet on him. By comparison, Willy One Arm and Buddy Boy, the cons who work at the warden’s house, and Seven Fingers, the ax murderer who helps his family out when their toilet is stopped up, don’t seem all that bad. But the line between good and bad is much clearer than Moose realizes. And if he doesn’t figure it out soon, he could be in a world of trouble.  

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Choldenko's follow-up to her Newbery Honor novel Al Capone Does My Shirts picks up where the first volume ended. It's August 1935 and 12-year-old narrator Moose Flanagan's autistic sister, Natalie, is headed to a boarding school for special needs children, promising an easier life for him and his parents (“We've been three people and an octopus all of my life, and now the octopus is gone”). But since Natalie's enrollment was secretly engineered by the prison's most notorious inmate, it's an ominous development when Moose finds a note in his laundry that reads “Your turn,” written in Capone's script. It takes another 100 pages for the tension to ratchet up, but fans of the first book will enjoy getting reacquainted; Piper, the warden's manipulative daughter, and Darby Trixle, a noxious guard, provide lots of conflict for good-natured Moose. The hourly count bell, carping gulls and rumble of the fog horn form a soundtrack that Moose calls “the ticking of our own island clock.” Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
An enjoyable, stand-alone sequel.
Horn Book
Choldenko delivers a crowd-pleasing sequel to her Newbery Honor-winning Al Capone Does My Shirts.
Children's Literature - Sara Rofofsky Marcus
Matthew Flanagan, known to friends and family as Moose, has been living on Alcatraz Island with his family for less than a year of his twelve years on Earth. Living with his older sister Natalie, who has an undiagnosed form of autism, and his parents, Moose is one of twenty-four children of workers at the jail in 1935. Written by the author of Al Capone Does My Shirts, this title continues the adventures of being a child on the same island as such criminals as Al Capone. Well-researched and presented as a child would view the life, Choldenko explores baseball, friendship, romance, family, and neighbors, as well as life with a special-needs sister. Al Capone is still doing laundry, Moose is still playing baseball, and Moose's father is still a guard and an electrician, but Moose is also involved in escape attempts, kidnapping, lying, hiding, and trying to survive adolescence in a new and strange environment. This is an adventure book both boys and girls will love as they run around the island with Annie, Piper, Moose, and others dealing with siblings, friends, family, enemies, and the inmates on the island. Reviewer: Sara Rofofsky Marcus
VOYA - Ed Goldberg
Moose and his Alcatraz friends from Al Capone Does My Shirts (Dial, 2004/VOYA April 2004) are back. In book one, Moose enlists Al Capone's assistance getting his sister, Natalie, enrolled in a school for autistic children. Now it is payback time. Tucked into his pillowcase, Moose finds a note from Capone saying "Your turn." Although all Capone wants is yellow roses for when his wife visits, the task gives Moose hives and causes a rift with his friend Annie. The hijinks Moose and company get into are nerve wracking and exciting. On a visit home from school, Natalie unwittingly brings a bar stretcher used by convicts to escape. The friends get rid of it, only to have a guard's daughter use it as a doll toy. Jimmy breeds flies that he intends to train and harness. Jimmy's little sister, Theresa, catches Moose kissing Piper, who nobody likes, knowing that Annie has a crush on him. And of course, there is the foiled convict escape. Choldenko's book is worthwhile on many levels. First, it is a fun read with lots of action and good characters. She provides a glimpse of life on The Rock in the mid— 1930s, expanding on it in her author's notes. Children act like children getting into typical kid trouble, all the while ending up heroes. Amidst the fun, however, Choldenko addresses issues such as prejudice against a special-needs child, authority figures, a lonely twelve-year-old who lies so people will pay attention, and a mother who could die in childbirth. It all combines for a great read for both genders. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—In Gennifer Choldenko's sequel (Dial, 2009) to Al Capone Does My Shirts (Putnam, 2004), it's 1935 and 12-year-old Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz Island where his father is a prison guard. The boy finds himself indebted to the infamous mobster, Al Capone, who pulled some strings to get his disabled sister, Natalie, admitted to a special school in San Francisco. His friend, Annie, warns Moose that owing a prisoner a favor is a dangerous position to be in, but he refuses to tell anyone, afraid that Natalie will be kicked out of the school if he does. When his sister comes home for a visit, Moose discovers that she has become an unwitting accomplice to an escape plan by some of the convicts on Alcatraz. Narrator Kirby Heyborne's dramatic performance draws listeners into the thick of the story, and he does a wonderful job portraying and differentiating between the various characters. The story is sometimes humorous and sometimes sad, but always moving. It would make a good springboard for discussing topics such as trust and right versus wrong. A must-have for elementary, middle school, and public libraries with strong audiobook collections.—Kathy Miller, Baldwin Junior High School, Baldwin City, KS
Kirkus Reviews
Choldenko hits a grand slam with this richly rewarding sequel about baseball-loving Moose and his life on Alcatraz in 1935. After his autistic sister Natalie was accepted to a special boarding school at the end of Newbery Honor-winning Al Capone Does My Shirts (2004) due to strings presumably pulled by the notorious mobster, 12-year-old Moose Flanagan assumed he was off the hook. Then the next note comes through the prison laundry, stating, "Your turn." The author continues to develop Moose's humorous, authentic voice as he wrestles with the moral dilemma of owing favors to criminals, his attraction to pretty, pot-stirring Piper despite her manipulative ways and his shifting feelings of relief and guilt over his sister's absence. When Moose and the other Alcatraz kids find themselves in the middle of a frightening prison break, rule-abiding Moose learns that "[s]ometimes making trouble is the right thing to do," demonstrating his deepening understanding of a world that is not black and white. Effortless period dialogue, fully developed secondary characters and a perfectly paced plot combine to create a solid-gold sequel that will not disappoint. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)

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Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Tales from Alcatraz Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years


What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Heart-stopping+heartrending+heartwarming." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Choldenko seamlessly blends laugh-out-loud humor with high drama in this fast-paced book." -Sacramento Bee

"A tender, engaging book that captures both the imagination and the heart." -San Jose Mercury News

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Al Capone Shines My Shoes 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 142 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you thought Al Capone does my shirts was good then you then you will abosolutly love Al Capone shines my shoes. I am only in the first few chapters of the book but I can tell you that the author made me keep me turning the pages even if it is 10:30 at night. Please buy this amazingly fantastic book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked al capone does my shirts you will definetly like this.i am in 5th grade and i loved this book.It kept me turning the pages.Great book.
Noel Jimenez More than 1 year ago
One word...................................AWESOME
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever! Very exciting at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and so does my class.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mom introduced me to Al Capone does my shirts first and told me about this one. When i finished reading al capone does my shirts i immediately bought it. I just finished it last night and i wish there were more for me to read! ; )
Stephanie67 More than 1 year ago
My 12 year old daughter and I love this sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts. It takes from history and adds the fictional element to make the story engaging. The children in this book are very funny and bright. Please make sure to read the authors notes at the end of the book where she explains the 'facts' vs. the 'fiction'. A great read that inspired us to learn more about Alcatraz.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had to read two books for 6th grade and then do a book report on them. Al capone shines my shoes was a Really good choice.
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
It's 1935 on Alcatraz Island. Al Capone is The Rock's most famous prisoner among a number of notorious criminals. He's also a constant fascination for the families of the guards, who live in houses on the island next door to the cellblock. Moose Flanagan is the son of one of those guards. He's adjusting to life without his autistic sister Natalie, who has just been accepted into the Esther P. Marinoff School, a place her parents believe will help her learn how to function better in society. Moose is sure Al Capone pulled strings to get Natalie in after Moose wrote a letter asking for his help. When Moose gets a note in his laundry, he knows Capone is asking for a favor back. But how can he fulfill the request without getting his dad fired and the whole family exiled off the island? Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko is a charming follow-up to her Newbery Honor winner, Al Capone Does My Shirts. You'll fall right back into Moose's story and life on Alcatraz, with its strict regulations for prisoners, guards and civilians alike. This time Moose is trying to navigate his conflicted feelings for Piper, the warden's daughter, and keep all his friends happy. He also has to determine where to draw the line with the cons who perform maintenance jobs in the homes: can he trust these men who for the most part seem like regular people, or should he keep their past crimes in mind when he interacts with them? I highly recommend this book for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 9 to 12.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it! Amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh can u people please write an actual review? Not something saying GREAT!!!!! Say how it was great. Come on. Dont be stupid. WRITE A REVIEW!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 10 year old loved this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well writen
kimberly schultea More than 1 year ago
I had to read Al Capone does my shirts for one of my Summer reading books and I fell in love with it. It was sooo good. So, when I returned back to school ( from the Summer) I turned in my report for Al Capone and my teacher announced, " Class, we might read Al Capone shines my shoes since ya'll enjoyed Al Capone does my shirts soooo much". I was sooo exited. Only like, two people didn't enjoy Al Capone but, maybe they just weren't into it, unlike me. I would reccomed this book to anyone of any age.
Zarahi Dairy More than 1 year ago
Moose and his friends will show you a window to what was like to live in Alcatraz displaying the love of baseball, the strength in the bonds of friendship and family, and the power of forgiveness. I would recommend this book to Middle Schoolers.
Anonymous 19 days ago
I haven't read it yet but I read Al Capone does my shirt and I thought it was histairic!!!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Yeah find a girl that likes you be nice and dont lisen to those comutials we fall in love with our hearts not our noses
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is this girl that i really like but she moved away. Any tips to finding a new girl?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear carley to get your boy one you should tell him about your feelings for him because he obviously likes you so tell me the results when you do so
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horrible book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Situation: dating way too early. That is waaaaaay to early for dating, but ill give you advice anyway. Your BFF would understand, if she is your true BFF. And if your going to ask out a boy, BE SUTTLE!!!! And if he says no shrug it off and walk away. Continue being his friend, or else he'll think you care to much. Best wishes, _carley
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like al capone washes my underwear better