Thursday, September 11, 2014
A Review of Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Fish in a Tree
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Expected Publication February 5, 2015.
Nancy Paulsen Books
Disclosure: Review copy provided by the publisher.
My 12 year-old daughter Molly and I recently finished reading Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Our love for Lynda and her first novel, One for the Murphys, is no secret (see our Nerdy Book Club Post). She is a wonderful author and an amazing person. When I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of Fish in a Tree, we were thrilled to say the least.
Molly made me promise not to read ANY of it without her. She wanted to read it aloud like we did with Murphys. This was tough for me because I was dying to read it, but I'm glad we were able to experience it together.
It took us a while to finish reading this book, only because Molly kept wanting to stop to discuss what was happening. She had many questions and comments. "Why were Shay and Jessica so mean? I love Keisha! This happens at my school too." Etc. But I would not have had it any other way. Stopping to discuss the story deepened our experience and connection to the book.
Ally is a girl who misbehaves in school to hide the fact that she can't read. Finally Mr. Daniels becomes her teacher. Although she needs to deal with teasing and humiliation from the awful Shay and her cronies, things are about to change for Ally. Mr. Daniels is the kind of teacher who sees the potential in every student. He notices that Ally is a talented artist and is great at solving problems with logic and critical thinking. Through his observations and assessments, Mr. Daniels realizes that Ally has dyslexia. Finally she has an explanation for why the letters seem to float around on the page and why she gets headaches while reading. Through hard work, faith and grit, Ally begin the arduous, but rewarding task of learning to read in a way that works for her brain.
I love Mr. Daniels. Every child should be lucky enough to have such a dedicated teacher who believes wholeheartedly in their success.
Throughout the school year, Ally has developed a friendship with the spunky and outspoken Keisha and brilliant, but quirky Albert. Through this friendship each one of them learns about their true gifts and what real friendship feels like. They learn that they are capable of things they never dreamed possible and that indeed, great minds don't think alike.
Fish in a Tree is a wonderful middle grade novel. From my experience with Molly I can also say that it would make a great read aloud. I will definitely be reading it to my 4th graders. It would also make a fabulous book group, book club or independent reading book. Students will love this story of resilience, hope, individuality and friendship.
Lynda Mullaly Hunt has a gift. She is able to create characters that you fall in love with and stories that live on in your heart.
Fish in a Tree is expected to be published in February of 2015, but it will be worth the wait.
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