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

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

4.3 141
by Gennifer Choldenko, Kirby Heyborne

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What do you do when your neighbors are a bunch of hit men, con men, and mad dog murderers? Well, if you're Moose Flanagan, you ask the most notorious convict of them all, Al Capone, for help. But when that convict comes through for you-and then asks you for a favor in return-suddenly it's a whole different ball game. Picking up where the Newbery-Honor winning Al

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What do you do when your neighbors are a bunch of hit men, con men, and mad dog murderers? Well, if you're Moose Flanagan, you ask the most notorious convict of them all, Al Capone, for help. But when that convict comes through for you-and then asks you for a favor in return-suddenly it's a whole different ball game. Picking up where the Newbery-Honor winning Al Capone Does My Shirts left off, this lively second romp featuring Moose, his friends, and some of Alcatraz's "finest" is just as satisfying as the first.

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

Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Tales from Alcatraz Series, #2
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Gennifer Choldenko was the youngest in a family of four kids, where her nickname was “Snot-Nose.” Her quirky sense of humor made its debut at the dinner table when Gennifer was a very little kid. She is the author of seven children’s books, including Notes from a Liar and Her Dog, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period; and Al Capone Shines My Shoes.

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