Al Capone Does My Homework

6 Sep

9780803734722_p0_v1_s260x420Gennifer Choldenko has done it again with a cast of characters living on a island with the most dangerous criminals of the time.  Al Capone Does My Homework is the third in the series of books about Moose, his sister Natalie, their family and friends, and of course Al Capone all living on Alcatraz Island in 1936.  Things are looking up for Moose Flanagan’s family – his dad was just made associate warden, his sister is doing well at the boarding school with other children like herself, and Moose and his friends are spending their days at school and playing baseball whenever they have a chance.  But suddenly when the Flanagan’s apartment goes up in flames while Moose is babysitting Natalie, Moose knows he must figure out who is to blame before things get worse.

Choldenko addresses autism spectrum disorders in Natalie, although at the time there was no diagnosis for Natalie.  Rather Natalie’s parents and Moose understand that she “views the world through her own personal kaleidoscope” and she goes to a boarding school during the week with other children who have similar disabilities as she does and during the weekends she gets extra help in social graces in order to “fit in.”  A secondary character with a disability is more common than having a main character with a disability but Choldenko addresses Moose’s feelings in a way that is very real for any child with a sibling that has a disability.

I really enjoyed this next adventure with Moose and his friends.  I really like the mystery aspect of finding out the truth behind the fire in Moose’s apartment, but I also like the everyday interactions Moose has with his family, friends and neighbors.  Choldenko does a great job of including Al Capone, one of America’s most infamous mobsters, while not letting him overshadow the other characters.  If you liked the first two in the series, definitely pick this one up!

Check out Gennifer Choldenko’s website!

Title: Al Capone Does My Homework
Author: Gennifer Choldenko
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2013
Page Number: 204 pgs.

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