Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

I was mostly charmed by this one. That’s despite starting out skeptical since I sent the last book I read by this author to the DaVinci pile.

Moose, a 7th-grader, and his family have moved to Alcatraz Island where his father works as an electrician and guard. While the setting is based on Alcatraz, the story revolves around the struggles of Moose and his family coping in 1935 with an autistic sister/child.

How they receive a little help in the end from Al Capone is a cute touch to a sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always historically-fascinating story.

Cautions: There is mention of the criminals locked up as murderers, rapists, thieves, etc.
Al Capone’s crimes are listed (without detail) but include the beating of traitors to death with a baseball bat.
One time there is a casual, “Oh Go_.”
Also, Moose’s 16 yr. old autistic sister had contact alone with a prisoner. While nothing about the encounter indicated any wrongdoing, Moose was worried because the warden had warned him the men hadn’t been around women in years. Later, the warden’s daughter makes a flippant comment about his sister possibly being pregnant which infuriates Moose. Reading level is mid-tweens. Content-level: older tweens.

SAFETY RATING: 2 Vatican Flags

Historical Fiction: 1935; Great Depression; America; Alcatraz


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