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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shirts, Shoes, Homework

The third tale from Alcatraz by Gennifer Choldenko finally came up on my library reserve list! Al Capone Does My Shirts introduced Moose Flanagan and his family, all residents of 64 building on Alcatraz Island in 1935 where Moose's dad is an electrician. His sister Natalie has special needs, and Moose is often the one who can communicate best with her. Prisoner #85 worked in the island's laundry and slipped notes to Moose in his clean shirts. In Al Capone Shines My Shoes, the saga continues. I do not want to give away the story of the third book, Al Capone Does My Homework, so I will just reveal what I enjoyed about the book. Moose continues to grow in thoughtfulness and compassion. Natalie matures in interesting ways. Piper, the warden's daughter, succumbs to something incredible. Annie is an even better friend to Moose than she has been in the past. Bea and Darby Trixle behave in dastardly ways.  Their daughter Janet is enthralled by the lives of the pixies she believes are real. And the cons have a point system that results in a near tragedy. Mrs. Mattaman, the mother of Moose's best friend Jimmy, is always around to support others in time of need. Annie's mom, Mrs. Bomini, sometimes is a little too nice, according to Moose. "Talking to Mrs. Bomini is like eating too many sugar donuts. Every other word is dearie or sweetie or honey love." 

The author's notes add so much to the historical context of the book. Her website - - is filled with more information and photos that provide background to the books. The recipes are pretty sweet, too.

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