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Month in Review

Reviews
The Adventures of the Hotsy Totsy by Clive Cussler
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
As Long as He Needs Me by Mary Verdick
Bone: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith
Bone: Old Man's Cave by Jeff Smith
Bone: Rock Jaw by Jeff Smith
Cat and Canary by Michael Foreman
Celestine, Drama Queen by Penny Ives
Elena's Serenade by Campbell Geeslin
Gentleman Takes a Chance by Sarah A. Hoyt
Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance by Paul Park
Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech
Halloween Town by Lucius Shepard
Iris by Nancy Springer
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo
Kiss My Math by Danica McKelar
The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King
The Last Ember by Daniel Levin
The Magic Gourd by Baba Wagué Diakité
Monster Motel by Douglas Florian
Mr. Darcy Vampyre by Amanda Grange
Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
The Princess Test by Gail Carson Levine
Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder
The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel Miller
The Talking Baby by Jeremy and Karina Sweet
Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House #27) by Mary Pope Osborne
Treehorn's Wish by Florence Parry Heide

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Al Capone Does My Shirts

Al Capone Does My Shirts: 09/19/10

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko: A special school in San Francisco is the family's last hope for Natalie, if they can only convince them to let her in.I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for eleven years. In all that time I've never been to Alcatraz. The closest I've gotten to it was via the Oakland / Alameda Ferry as it was headed towards Angel Island. But I've visited it many times in fiction, my latest trip being via Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.

Except for a barebones understanding of the plot, namely, a boy and his family moving to Alcatraz, I had no expectations. I was immediately taken in by Moose, a twelve year old who is taller than average and older than his years because of his sister, Natalie. A special school in San Francisco is the family's last hope for Natalie, if they can only convince them to let her in.

In the background is Alcatraz. Families did in fact live there with their children riding a ferry to the mainland every day for school. Choldenko manages to blend historical events into her story, making Moose's world believable and fascinating.

What won me over though, wasn't Alcatraz. Instead it was the relationship (good and bad) between Moose and Natalie. I had just come off reading a terrible book with a similar theme, Saving Max. Natalie was a breath of fresh air. She is given time to be herself, make mistakes, learn, grow and live. Although the other Alcatraz children ask rude questions about Natalie's condition, they go become her friend on her terms, something that I haven't seen much in fiction.

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Comment #1: Monday, September, 20, 2010 at 13:52:36

Jeane

I've heard of this book before, but don't remember details. What was Natalie's condition? was she autistic?



Comment #2: Friday, September 24, 2010 at 19:00:35

Pussreboots

Yes, Natalie is autistic although autism is never mentioned by that term. As the author explains, the word autism was coined a few years after the book takes place.



Comment #3: Monday, September, 20, 2010 at 14:50:24

darla d

I have been meaning to read this book for ages - now I definitely have to bump it up my list. I went on a tour of Alcatraz years ago, but it is still very vivid in my mind!



Comment #4: Friday, September 24, 2010 at 19:03:45

Pussreboots

It's worth reading. I wouldn't mind a re-read myself.