Al Capone Shines My Shoes

I wish. Or perhaps I don’t, now that I think about it. Having a world famous crook anywhere near my footwear may not be a good idea. Especially seeing as Al Capone is dead.

I came late to the first book, Al Capone Does My Shirts, but ever since I found that Gennifer Choldenko was writing a sequel, I have waited and waited. My wait is now over, and the book was more than worth waiting for.

Setting aside the autism angle yet again, which on its own is enough to please me, this is such a marvellous story! It’s deceptively simple, but as you begin reading you’re immediately sucked into the story about Moose and his family and friends and neighbours on Alcatraz. You’re there. I felt as if I lived in a flat on Alcatraz, next door to Moose. Except since I don’t play baseball I would be a disappointing friend.

We have been made to believe that Al Capone helped get Moose’s sister Natalie into a school where she would learn to be a little less autistic. And a favour requires another in return. The big question for Moose is what Capone will ask for.

Apart from Capone problems, Moose also has love problems, friend problems, baseball problems. But he deals with them all, though not necessarily in the best way. His friend Annie asks if, when he has children, they would all play baseball. ‘Why else would you have kids?’ Moose replies.

Al Capone Shines My Shoes

You can tell that Gennifer has worked on Alcatraz, because the attention to detail is outstanding. Nobody could come up with so many details without knowing the place inside out. I don’t want to suggest Gennifer is old enough to have lived in the 1930s, but she does have a knack for making you think she was there. It’s like the reader is watching an old film.

The cover is in the same vein as her earlier books, and looks good enough to eat. Blue Converses and ice cream colour lettering. Delicious. So I could possibly buy the book for its cover alone without even knowing what’s inside. Al Capone is. Inside.

6 responses to “Al Capone Shines My Shoes

  1. Thanks for the mention of this. Right after I read it, one of my adult friends came in to buy it and told me how great the first book was too. I had a look at it and will definitely read it soon. I didn’t realize till now how long people have been waiting for a sequel.

  2. Yes, it sort of belongs with crime, as you’ve got the cons on Alcatraz, and the whole story feels like an old hardboiled crime film, with a child twist to it.

  3. The crime angle is probably how my friend got on to them, as she’s a mystery fan.

    I’ve been to Alcatraz, though it was for an American Indian alternate Thanksgiving and not to see the prison, although the tour is supposed to be very good.

    There’s even an Al Capone family connection of a sort. My cousin collected Capone memorabilia when he was a teenager, and ended up on Geraldo Rivera’s unfortunate show about the vault, where nothing was discovered. The cousin actually briefly ran an Al Capone museum in downtown Chicago. He was not universally beloved by Chicagoans for this. I think they like being regarded for their sports teams instead of their criminals. They should take a page out of San Francisco’s book, where there’s plenty of pride in both.

  4. al capone does my shirts was a truly remarkable book. The three-part plan for the book was an amazing idea. normally i whiz through books, sometimes unable to comprehend what i’ve read. When I read one part in two hours, i knew that i had to slow down. this book was surprisingly lively, due to the account that it takes place on a criminal island. two thumbs up to this book, five stars and a standing ovation. i’m sure that this sequel will be just as dazzling as the first, if not better. ( :

  5. is there going to be a third book?
    btw, i loved this book and the first one

  6. Tricore – Gennifer has told me she’s planning a trilogy, so I’m hoping for a third book.

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