Fish in a Tree – Review by Valerie

 Valerie bursts with enthusiasm, especially when it’s about books. When we are reading in class or discussing a story or chapters read at home the night before, Valerie thrills at the chance to share her ideas and insights. She notices aspects of stories that most kids miss, and shares beautifully during conversation and in writing. She’s reviewing a book that really connects with thoughtful middle schoolers, and one which my own kids loved very much.

Ally is different. She has known this her whole life. What she doesn’t know is why she is different. Why she says things different from what she thinks. Why her handwriting is so bad. Why she struggles to read and write while the rest of her sixth grade class does it with ease. Ally feels alone, with no friends in a world that just won’t understand her, but then she meets her new teacher, Mr. Daniels, and new friends Keisha and Albert. Ally has lived her whole life thinking she was stupid, until Mr. Daniels tells her something that will change her life, and the way she sees herself.

I think this is a great book because it teaches kids that just because someone is different, it doesn’t mean they are stupid or weird. It also has a large set of characters, each of whom face their own struggles and have a unique personality. This book will make you laugh and cry, and it shows how great minds don’t always think alike. If you like books like Rules, Wonder, and One For The Murphys, then you will love this realistic fiction book by Linda Mullay Hunt. My favorite character is Albert, and one of my favorite parts is when all the kids bring a bag to school with something that represents them, because it always makes me laugh, and we learn about the characters. I give this book two thumbs up!

Fish in a Tree – Review by Maria

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She has chosen to review Fish in a Tree, which was written by one of my EMLA agency mates and Facebook friends, but I assure you, this choice and her ideas are all her own.

Fish In A Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is a book that faces the problems of growing up and believing in yourself. It tells the story of Ally, a girl who has dyslexia. She is ashamed, teased, hides it. But her newest teacher sees who Ally truly is: a smart, creative girl. With his help, Ally becomes more confident and discovers that there is more to herself than she and others know.

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I cannot say how much I loved, enjoyed, and was amazed by this book! It is a truly original story about being confident and being yourself. Unlike other stories, the problem isn’t magically solved. This book describes in detail the shame and hate Ally receives. I read this in about 2 days, and cried at the end of it. Hunt has many descriptive, heart – wrenching paragraphs about Ally’s bullies, and her dad, who is off in the military. In one paragraph, it says, “I’ve been drawing pictures of myself being shot out of a cannon. It would be easier than school. Less painful.” Hunt uses amazing sentences such as this that will make the reader, no matter who, feel as if they are Ally. Despite being a bit of a tearjerker, I would recommend this amazing story to anyone 9 – up. Some of the parts are very sad and emotional, and not all kids might enjoy the more cruel and sad scenes. But aside from that, anyone can enjoy this story, as we have all been an outsider at a time and will be able to sympathize with Ally’s struggle. I loved the ups and downs, the descriptions and drama, and the wonderful quote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”