Fish in a Tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-16259-6
Sixth-grader Ally Nickerson has been to seven schools in seven years, and the same thing happens at each one: she spends more time in the principal’s office than in class. The pattern is repeating at Ally’s current school until a long-term substitute teacher, Mr. Daniels, discovers that Ally is acting out to hide the fact that she can’t read. Ally is deeply ashamed and has bought into what others have told her—that she’s dumb and worthless—but Mr. Daniels helps her understand that she has dyslexia and see her talents and intelligence. As Ally’s fragile confidence grows, she connects with two other classroom outsiders, Albert and Keisha. Hunt (One for the Murphys) leans heavily on familiar types (a two-dimensional mean-girl and her sycophantic best friend, a teacher with unconventional methods) and a surfeit of relevant metaphors (coins valuable because of their flaws, former planet Pluto—“Too small. Too far away. Orbit not just right”—and so on). Nevertheless, her depiction of Ally’s learning struggles is relatable, and Ally’s growth and relationships feel organic and real. Ages 10–up. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/2014
Release date: 02/05/2015
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 320 pages - 978-0-606-39991-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-7495-0
Paperback - 320 pages
Compact Disc - 978-1-101-89067-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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