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Al Capone Shines My Shoes (audio) by Gennifer Choldenko
Alameda County Breeding Bird Atlas by Bob Richmond
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101 Things You Thought You Knew About the Titanic ... but Didn't! by Tim Maltin
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Al Capone Shines My Shoes: 11/05/12

cover art

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko is the sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts. In the first book, Moose got a favor from Al Capone and now he's received a message: "Your turn."

While Natalie is living in her special school in San Francisco, Moose and his family continue to live and work on Alcatraz Island. Now that Moose is no longer the new guy, he has to find his place among the other children.

In the first book the plot was focused Moose and his relationship with his older sister, Natalie. Alcatraz, except for Al Capone intervening at the end, was secondary to the plot. With her (for the most part) out of the picture, strife amongst the children and personal dramas in each of the families is introduced instead. Instead of being able to build one, credible and compelling story about another of the Alcatraz families, the book is flooded with numerous competing dramas. It's too much to take in.

To further complicate things, Choldenko tosses in an escape attempt that both puts the children in danger and gives them a chance to save the day while the parents are too distracted to notice. While there were some thrilling scenes in this climax, the Scooby Doo wrap up had me shaking my head in disbelief.

Three stars

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