Thursday, March 26

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree
Linda Mullaly Hunt

My rating: ★★★★½

ISBN: 978-0399162596
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Date of publication: February 5, 2015
Age: Grades 4 and up
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: dyslexia, teacher/student relationship, intelligence, learning differences

After a lot of moving around—and a lot of different schools—Ally has gotten really good at hiding her inability to read. Sure, it usually involves some disruption or misbehavior, but she can't ask for help. As far as she's concerned, how can you cure dumb? But her newest teacher, Mr. Daniels, recognizes not only that she has dyslexia, but also sees her as the bright, creative student she truly is. Soon, Ally discovers that there's a lot more to herself and those around her than just a label.

It's heartwarming. It's beautiful. It's everything you want to read in a book. Yes, it even made me cry (in a very good way). I really could just leave it at that. But I won't, of course.

First, the structure of the novel: it involves quick chapters—glimpses into different experiences that make up Ally and how she begins to change. It made for quick reading (I seriously would have read it in one sitting, it was so good, if I hadn't been interrupted) but still allowed for amazing insight into Ally's character. Other characters each got their own chances to shine in these chapters as Ally interacts with them. So, while the others may not be as in depth (and some may have been a tad predictable), they still contribute significantly to the story as a whole.

While there is the sad, somewhat unbelievable aspect to the story that no one previous to Mr. Daniels realized Ally's learning difference, the point of the story is the struggle of the student dealing with dyslexia. And it is magnificently written, giving readers of all ages great insight and understanding. I highly recommend to young and old alike, especially to those who work to educate children.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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