Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko Kirkus Star


by Gennifer Choldenko

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3460-9
Publisher: Dial

Choldenko hits a grand slam with this richly rewarding sequel about baseball-loving Moose and his life on Alcatraz in 1935. After his autistic sister Natalie was accepted to a special boarding school at the end of Newbery Honor–winning Al Capone Does My Shirts (2004) due to strings presumably pulled by the notorious mobster, 12-year-old Moose Flanagan assumed he was off the hook. Then the next note comes through the prison laundry, stating, “Your turn.” The author continues to develop Moose’s humorous, authentic voice as he wrestles with the moral dilemma of owing favors to criminals, his attraction to pretty, pot-stirring Piper despite her manipulative ways and his shifting feelings of relief and guilt over his sister’s absence. When Moose and the other Alcatraz kids find themselves in the middle of a frightening prison break, rule-abiding Moose learns that “[s]ometimes making trouble is the right thing to do,” demonstrating his deepening understanding of a world that is not black and white. Effortless period dialogue, fully developed secondary characters and a perfectly paced plot combine to create a solid-gold sequel that will not disappoint. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)