Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts. New York: Puffin, 2004.

Can you imagine what it’s like to live on an island with the country’s worst criminals? If you can’t, you need to read Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan moves with his family to Alcatraz in 1935. He lives within yards of Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly just to name a few. Moose is more cautious about his new home than excited. The first night he sleeps with a baseball bat and keeps his clothes on. Alcatraz’s convicts are working stiffs. Anything that needs to be done on the island, they do it. Just listen to this conversation between Moose and his dad:

“The convicts wash my shirts, as in murderer convicts and kidnapper convicts, and then I’m supposed to wear them?”
He laughs.
“They darn socks, too?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact. Do a better job than you mom too. Though don’t you dare tell her I said that.”
“Murderers outsew my mother?”
“Apparently so.” My dad laughs (34).

To find out more about Moose’s time on Alcatraz, you’ll have to read the book.

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