Book Review by Clarisa Rodrigues

Bibliographical Information:
Title Al Capone Does My Shirt
Author Gennifer Choldenko
Edition Reprinted
Publisher Penguin, 2006
ISBN 0142403709, 9780142403709
Length 225 pages
Age Range 5-7th grade

Author Biography:
Gennifer Choldenko is the author of seven children’s books, including Notes from a Liar and Her Dog, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, and Al Capone Does My Shirts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, their two children, and a dog named Sophie. Choldenko unintentionally created Natalie to be like her sister who has Autism.

Al Capone Does My Shirts is a Fictional book about a boy Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 so his dad could take a job to be able to send his sister to a special school. He has to struggle with his strange new environment in addition to life with his sister Natalie, who has Autism. Moose makes many new friends and maybe an enemy or two while he’s on the island. He goes through many adventures but throughout everything, he always is watching over Natalie.

Book Review:
I really enjoyed this book for several different reasons. This book was told though the perspective of the younger brother of a girl with Autism and his challenges and responsibilities taking care of her. I felt like I could relate to Moose because I have a brother with special needs also and there are some very touching parts in the book. I would highly recommend to future teachers or anyone with a sibling who has special needs. In my opinion this book shows how the love for a sibling can triumph any challenge that comes their way. This book also shows how having a child with a disability can put a strain on the family but that no matter what a family will always love them unconditionally.

Analysis of Literary Elements:

A very important element in this book is the character development of the main characters, Moose, Natalie, Piper, and Mr. & Mrs. Flannagan. The characters grow as they face the challenges they encounter living on the island of Alcatraz. The character that moved me the most with their personal growth was Moose’s father. There was a big turning point in the book where he realizes that things cannot continue the way they have been going and he puts his foot down regarding lots of different things.