If there is one thing I can say about Gennifer Choldenko‘s Al Capone Throws me a Curve, A Tale from Alcatraz ($22.99, Random House Kids) is that my 10-year-old son recognized the importance of telling the truth.
At least that is what he kept shouting throughout the book as the main character, Moose Flanagan, makes what we believe is the wrong choice even if it was for the right reason.
My son was interested in reading this book because it was about prison (great!), specifically Alcatraz when it held the infamous Al Capone, Prisoner No. 85. Moose’s father is the assistant warden so he, his his sister Natalie, who is autistic, and their mother, who seems to have mental health issues, live on the island, riding the ferry to mainland to go to school. In this book, it’s the summer before high school for Moose and he desperately wants to get on the school’s baseball team. In order to join the team, the captain requests something impossible to get from Alcatraz.
“Moose has to learn to stand up to people: his parents. The warden. Piper”, the warden’s daughter who causes trouble whereever she goes. “Even Al Capone.”
My son and I are not traditional sports fans so I found there was way too much baseball in this book. My son wanted to keep reading as he liked the prison part, which I found was too little in between all the baseball and situations Moose found himself in by not telling the truth.
Of course, Moose’s situations were made worse by the choices he made including lying to his parents. I am grateful that my son recognized this fact and noticed how it would have been so much easier on Moose if he took any number of opportunities to just tell the truth.
A copy of this book was provided by Random House Kids for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.