Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

October 15, 2009

Al Capone Shines My Shoes

By Gennifer Choldenko
Era: 1935 Alcatraz Island
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

In this excellent sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts, we pick up from where we left off. Al Capone has apparently done Moose's family a favor and got his sister Natalie (who shows signs of autism which was not a diagnoses in the 1930's) into a special school for kids like herself. Now Moose gets a message in his laundry--it is time for some payback. He is supposed to give Capone's wife Mae, who is due to visit--yellow roses. Moose is in a sweat. How can he possibly explain giving a woman he's never met flowers? Nevermind Capone's wife. When his friend Annie discovers Moose owes Capone, she insists on spilling the beans to the adults, but Moose can't risk Natalie getting tossed out of school. Add to this struggle the beautiful but bratty Piper, the warden's daughter, who gets everyone around her in trouble. Then there is Jimmy, who isn't so sure Moose is the best friend he'd like him to be. To top off all of this strife, Eliot Ness and J. Edgar Hoover are due to visit Alcatraz and the grown ups are in a tizzy to throw a big party. But when Natalie comes home from school for a visit and Moose finds a bar spreader in her bag, his worries intensify. Is Natalie somehow part of a plot with the convicts on Alcatraz? All of these problems will merge together in a sudden bang, and in the excitement, can Moose do the right thing? Readers will love this story, which moves along quickly and contains a lot of questions of right and wrong and plenty of action and excitement. The second book will make more sense if you have read the first one, but it isn't necessary to drop right into the story. Big thumbs up!


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