The school librarian recommended this book to my fifth grade son. I can see why. After browsing the internet, I see this book and its follow up, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, both by Gennifer Choldenko, on recommended lists for boys who don’t like adventure stories.
Not that there isn’t adventure in this book. Young “Moose” Flanagan braves breaching a fence of the yard in a maximum security prison to look for a baseball. That takes guts.
The heart of the story is the relationship between Moose and his autistic sister, Natalie. The meat of the story is the setting. They live on
in 1935, when the renowned criminal Al Capone is in residence. Alcatraz Island
Moose is like most kids I know, or maybe he is just like my kids. He loves his independence and begrudgingly takes on responsibility, which he takes seriously. Yet he is still a kid and drawn into the plots of the cute warden’s daughter and the appeal of the infamous.
Al Capone does not actually appear in the book, but makes a significant impact nonetheless, in a very powerful Al Capone way.