Al Capone Does My Brother's Shirts Based on Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko A digital picture book by Kathleen Pedro
My name is Natalie Flanagan. My favorite things to count are buttons.
This is my mother. She says I am 10 and makes lemon cake for me. This is my father. He works as a prison guard and reads numbers out of the newspaper.
This is my brother Moose. He likes baseball. I never say it, but he's my favorite person in the whole world. “ Hey, Natalie, the sun get up okay this morning?” Hey, Natalie, the sun get up okay this morning?
My family moved to San Francisco to Alcatraz Island, the famous prison, so I could go to a special school: the Esther P. Marinoff School. It would make my parents happy if I went there. Hopefully, I will be happy, too.
On the island, Moose and I met new friends: Theresa, her brother Jimmy, Annie, and Piper, who is the Warden's daughter.
Piper asked me, “How much is 28 times 478?” I told her, “13, 384.” Moose glared at Piper. He thought she was making fun of me, but I didn't mind. I like numbers.
He does that sometimes. The least I can do is correct him. Then we went to the school, and my family said goodbye. The next day, I went to Esther P. Marinoff. On the boat, Moose said: Bad Moose. Nine birds. Nine. I count 229 birds.
At the school, I didn't have my buttons to count. I missed my family. The next morning, I was sad. Mr. Purdy yelled at me because I was being sad too loudly. He called my family. They came and brought me home.
At home, Piper added laundry from the kids at school to our laundry. Moose was nervous about it. Piper had gotten money for it. Meanwhile, I counted the birds. My father worked. My mother taught music lessons. I don't think anyone was happy. Maybe Piper.
Mr. Purdy from the Esther P. Marinoff School said Mrs. Kelly could help me get ready to go to the school later on. So I started to see Mrs. Kelly. Let's work on personal pronouns!
As nice as Mrs. Kelly was, I liked staying with Moose better. I counted stones while he went looking for baseballs lost by convicts. Baseball.. baseball...
While Moose was looking for a baseball, I met 105. He called me, “Sweetie.”
Moose saw 105 holding my hand. He got upset, even after 105 gave him a baseball, which I thought was a nice thing to do. After that, Moose didn't want to go outside with me anymore. Stay away From Natalie, You convict! Relax! Here's a baseball. Natalie said you wanted one.
I became upset and threw one of my tantrums. Moose got upset, but he smiled when I said, “ I want to go outside.” I never said “I” aloud to Moose before. Mrs. Kelly showed me how.
So we went outside, and my brother pushed me on the swing.
In all the excitement, I almost forgot my birthday. My family didn't. My mother got me a cake that said I was 10. Even Theresa, Jimmy, Annie, and Piper came. I think Moose likes Piper. He doesn't want to admit it, but I can tell.
After the party, Moose told my mother that I was 16 years old. Her cheeks turned red, and she yelled at him. But my father asked me, “Natalie, how old are you?” I replied, “I am sixteen at two thirty-one today.” My father said he was proud, but he could barely get the words out.
Then I went back to Esther P. Marinoff to interview with Mr. Purdy, to see if I was ready to go to the school. I said to him, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” “ Well, I don't know, Natalie.” “ Because one of his buttons rolled to the other side.”
He called later and said I was not ready. I don't think he likes my jokes.
My mother cried and lay in bed. She said it was not my fault. I still felt bad.
Moose tried to ask Piper's father, the Warden, to get me into the school. He even wrote a letter to Al Capone, the famous criminal, asking him to help me.
I guess it worked. I'm going to the Esther P. Marinoff School.
Moose hugged me, even though hugging bothers me. I did like seeing him happy.