93 pages 3 hours read

Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade

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Chapters 4-6

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part One

Chapter 4 Summary: American Laugh-Nosed Beet

Saturday January 6, 1935

As usual, Natalie does not respond to Moose when he greets her in the morning. Moose explains that this used to really bother him. One time, he got so angry that she didn’t answer that he also remained silent, which made Natalie cry for “two straight hours” (22)—an outsized reaction that helped Moose see how different Natalie’s way of interacting with the world is. This particular morning, they are sharing a special breakfast because Natalie about to start the Esther P. Marinoff School, a residential school for intellectually disabled children. Neither Moose nor his mother thinks it’s a good idea for him to accompany Natalie to her new school, but Cam insists.

On the boat, Moose notices that “Natalie is rocking more than usual” (26). Once Natalie senses that her mother is upset about leaving her at the school, she “curls up in a tight little ball” (27) and even though Helen tries to sound cheery, it does not fool Natalie. Moose figures out what to do. Natalie loves to correct her brother, so Moose coaxes her off the boat by purposefully making errors while reciting a book’s index. As Natalie follows him, she recites the appropriate page numbers and grabs his hand—only the second time in his whole life that Natalie has held his hand.