Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko | TeenInk

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

January 10, 2010
By Brent BRONZE, Fairmont, West Virginia
Brent BRONZE, Fairmont, West Virginia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The book Al Capone Does My Shirts is a historical fiction book that takes place in 1930’s about a 12 year old boy named Moose. He and his family moved to Alcatraz Island because his sister is autistic and needs to be in a special school for people like her in San Francisco. The reason they are living on Alcatraz Island is because his father got a new job as an electrician and prison guard. Moose doesn’t fit in with the kids at school because they think it’s weird that he lives on Alcatraz.
The author wrote this book geared toward middle school students to show that not everyone is as lucky as us and that life has its ups and downs. I think she wanted to also explain a little bit of history about Alcatraz. I strongly recommend this book. It is very well written and interesting to read. I have developed this review to encourage other middle school kids to read the book.

Description and summary of main points

The author, Gennifer Choldenko, lives in the United States where she works on her wonderful books for young readers. Her references to Moose’s autistic sister are genuine because she has a sister with autism. She also worked for a short time as a tour guide on Alcatraz.

I have read other fictional book geared toward young adults and my review compares this book those. My ratings are: 5, exceptional; 4, good; 3, acceptable; 2, hard to finish; and 1, don’t bother.

Moose is not happy about moving to Alcatraz. “I want to be here like I want poison oak on my private parts” is one of my favorite quotes from Moose. He’s not happy about his new school, he’s not happy to watch his sister while his mother takes on extra work, and he’s especially not happy about the warden’s daughter who looks sweet on the outside, but seems like she wants to break all the rules and get everyone else in trouble.


Moose has to cope with a new home, make new friends, and try to fit in. He often has to watch his autistic sister which means he can’t play baseball with the kids after school.

This book gives a view of a boy’s life in a special way that makes it very interesting to read. The writer takes the reader into the eyes and shoes of people less fortunate than many. Moose meets many special people like Mrs. Kelly and Al Capone, who little by little help Moose to finally get his sister into a new school that she was not able to get in.

Other books of this type can seem to talk down to the reader, or can get boring to the reader. This book does such a good job of keeping the reader’s interest from the start and through until the end.


In conclusion, this book is very well written and interesting to read. As you can see from the details I’ve provided within this review, the story is interesting and really keeps your attention. The author does a good job of making reader put themselves in the shoes of the boy in the story. I strongly recommend other middle school kids to read this book.

Your final review
I rate this book a five. This book is very well written, interesting to read, and I strongly encourage middle school kids to read this book.

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