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Cover image for Fish in a tree
Format:
Title:
Fish in a tree
Oregon 'Battle of the Books':
2019-2020 ; 3rd-5th division.
ISBN:
9780142426425

9781518210914

9780606399913
Publication:
New York, NY : Puffin Books, 2017.
Physical Description:
274, 13 pages, 16 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Summary:
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.
Reading Level:
Middle School.

550 Lexile.

Middle readers.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 3.7.

Reading Counts! 3.2.

AR 3.7 7.0 pt.

Reading Counts RC 3.2 13.0 65768.

MG 7.0 Accelerated Reader AR 3.7 172804.
Holds:

Available:*

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JF HUNT
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JUV FIC Hunt
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Hunt, L.
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J FICTION HUNT
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J Hunt, L.
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On Order

Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Lynda Mullaly Hunt (www.lyndamullalyhunt.com) has received many honors for her debut novel, One for the Murphys , which is on over twenty state award lists, including Bank Street's 2013 Best Books of the Year. She's a former teacher, and holds writers retreats for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, impetuous beagle, and beagle-loathing cat.


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Ally is a talented artist and a math whiz but her skills don't stop her from feeling dumb as she begins sixth grade. Ally finds letters on the page almost impossible to decode because they seem to move around; trying to make sense of them gives her headaches. To add to her problems, her military dad is deployed overseas and she's struggling to cope with the death of her much-loved grandfather. After being misunderstood by another teacher, Ally is transferred to Mr. Daniels's class. Mr. Daniels is supportive amd encourages Ally to let go of her protective shell. In this class she meets Keisha and Alfred, students with differnces of their own, and they help and support one another, identifying their individual strengths. Kathleen McInerney's reading effectively captures the characters' personalities: Ally's insecurity, Keisha's confidence, science-loving Alfred's robot-like affect, and their snarky classmate, hard-to-like Shay. Adult characterizations also ring true from the concern of Ally's mother to Mr. Daniels's creativity and enthusiasm. The conclusion is both plausible and satisfying. A letter to readers from the author (and read by her) adds a touching personal dimension to the subject of learning differences. -VERDICT Recommended for any student who sometimes feels like an outcast, especially those who face learning challenges.-Maria Salvadore, formerly of the Washington, DC Public Library © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Ally Nickerson may be well spoken and have a great sense of humor, but something is not right. Why is this sixth grader spending so much time in the principal's office? Why is she doing such impulsive and destructive things? Why do the mean girls, Shay and Jessica, continually torment her? It's not just that she is a new girl in school, though attending seven schools in seven years has taken its toll. There is something else. When her teacher goes on maternity leave, Ally humiliates herself by giving Mrs. Hall a sympathy card rather than the expected baby card. She is not trying to be cruel; she simply cannot read, and for some reason, no one has discovered this until now. When substitute teacher Mr. Daniels arrives, with his new instructional techniques and his love for his "Fantasticos" (i.e., students), Ally knows things are going to change. This has all the required parts of a school story: the mean girls, the quirky but lovable boys, the new BFF who sticks up for herself and others, and the heroic teacher. These secondary characters add richness to the story and help Ally, who is telling her own tale in the first person, to grow as a learner and person. While the resolution to Ally's struggles with reading and social acceptance happens too quickly, readers will nevertheless cheer for this likable girl. robin smith (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Hunt draws a portrait of dyslexia and getting along. Ally Nickerson, who's passed through seven schools in seven years, maintains a Sketchbook of Impossible Things. A snowman in a furnace factory is more plausible than imagining herself doing something rightlike reading. She doesn't know why, but letters dance and give her headaches. Her acting out to disguise her difficulty causes headaches for her teachers, who, oddly, never consider dyslexia, even though each notices signs like inconsistent spellings of the same word. Ally's confusion is poignant when misunderstandings like an unintentional sympathy card for a pregnant teacher make her good intentions backfire, and readers will sympathize as she copes with the class "mean girls." When a creative new teacher, Mr. Daniels, steps in, the plot turns more uplifting but also metaphor-heavy; a coin with a valuable flaw, cupcakes with hidden letters, mystery boxes and references to the Island of Misfit Toys somewhat belabor the messages that things aren't always what they seem and everyone is smart in their own ways. Despite emphasis on "thinking outside the box," characters are occasionally stereotypicala snob, a brainiac, an unorthodox teacherbut Ally's new friendships are satisfying, as are the recognition of her dyslexia and her renewed determination to read. Fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012) will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Ally doesn't fit in. She draws beautifully and can create movies in her mind, but she is often bullied and hides the fact that she cannot read. Now in her seventh school, she plans to pull the wool over the eyes of her sixth-grade teacher, as she has done with many other teachers in the past. But Mr. Daniels is different. He believes in Ally, insisting she is smart, and it's almost enough to make her want to try his different way of learning. Could she actually, possibly learn to read? Filled with a delightful range of quirky characters and told with tons of heart, the story also explores themes of family, friendship, and courage in its many forms. And while a girl with dyslexia may be the center of the book, it has something to offer for a wide-ranging audience, making this an excellent class read-aloud. A hopeful and meaningful choice for those who struggle academically, this is as unique as its heroine.--Moore, Melissa Copyright 2014 Booklist


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 In Trouble Againp. 1
Chapter 2 Yellow Cardp. 6
Chapter 3 Never up to Mep. 11
Chapter 4 Bird in a Cagep. 16
Chapter 5 Silver Dollars and Wooden Nickelsp. 24
Chapter 6 Triple-Sided Coinp. 30
Chapter 7 No Grandpas Herep. 35
Chapter 8 Real Troublep. 39
Chapter 9 Bag Full of Nothingp. 43
Chapter 10 Promises, Promises...p. 53
Chapter 11 Scrambled Eggp. 58
Chapter 12 What's Your Problem, Albert?p. 64
Chapter 13 Trouble with Flowersp. 70
Chapter 14 Boxed in and Boxed Outp. 75
Chapter 15 Ungreased Gearsp. 82
Chapter 16 What I've Gotp. 88
Chapter 17 Misfit Lunchp. 91
Chapter 18 Truths and Untruthsp. 96
Chapter 19 Not-So-Sweet Secretp. 101
Chapter 20 Is This a Good Thing?p. 108
Chapter 21 Butterfly Wishesp. 114
Chapter 22 No Way to Treat a Queenp. 119
Chapter 23 Words That Breathep. 122
Chapter 24 Imaginary Herop. 126
Chapter 25 Celebration or Devastation?p. 133
Chapter 26 Stallingp. 137
Chapter 27 Half-Baked Afternoonp. 141
Chapter 28 Deal of a Lifetimep. 145
Chapter 29 Fish in a Treep. 150
Chapter 30 Miserable Kingp. 160
Chapter 31 Lots of Ways Homep. 164
Chapter 32 Screen Timep. 168
Chapter 33 Possibilitiesp. 174
Chapter 34 Birth of a Starp. 178
Chapter 35 A Picture is Worth a Gazillion Wordsp. 185
Chapter 36 In the Game of Life...p. 190
Chapter 37 A Chicken, a Wolf, and a Problemp. 193
Chapter 38 Loser for Presidentp. 198
Chapter 39 To-Shayp. 202
Chapter 40 Tears of Different Kindsp. 209
Chapter 41 Not-So-Secret Letterp. 211
Chapter 42 The Gifts of No Excuses, Scotch Tape, and Antibioticsp. 217
Chapter 43 Set the World on Firep. 223
Chapter 44 Tales of a Sixth Grade Somethingp. 225
Chapter 45 My Brother's Questionp. 228
Chapter 46 Flying Tigers and Baby Elephantsp. 232
Chapter 47 Great Minds Don't Think Alikep. 236
Chapter 48 Oliver's idea of Luckyp. 244
Chapter 49 I See the Lightp. 250
Chapter 50 A Hero's Jobp. 253
Chapter 51 C-O-U-R-A-GEniusp. 260
Acknowledgmentsp. 269
Letter from the Authorp. 273
Discussion Questionsp. 275
The Sketchbook of Impossible Thingsp. 277