Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Book Cover
The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.

“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

My Thoughts

This book had me crying from beginning to end. I couldn’t stop. It just made me both happy and sad for Ally. The frustration she felt just leaped off the pages. I know a couple people with dyslexia but this book explains it to others so well. I mean it really does. It tells you the story of how Ally thinks, feels, and tries to cover it up. Ally thinks she’s stupid because she can’t read. How terrible for a child to think that and no one know how to help her.

Mr. Daniels is the type of teacher that you wish you had in school and hope and pray your child gets when they are in school. A kind, patient, caring person who actually wants to help and teach. I really think that if we saw Ally in a later book, it would be Mr Daniels who she’d thank for helping her see her true potential and that she is truly a brilliant girl. I think what frustrated me with this book, is that it took a substitute teacher for people to realize that Ally wasn’t a bad child, but a struggling student.

I love her friends too. Both strong, necessary kids in the book to help Ally learn who she is and what a friend truly is. Some of it made me cry because of Ally’s friend, Albert, who is from a poor family and even though he’s smart, he’s bullied a lot. Another reason I cried so much was the added fact that Ally’s family is a military family- the part with her Dad made me cry a lot. Definitely an emotional book.

Read this book and prepare to cry. Have some Kleenex handy cause you’ll need it. Such a beautifully written book about a challenge a lot of students and people have but is easily written off.

5 out of 5 star! Well Done, Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Well done.


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