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Hunt, Lynda Mullaly.
FISH IN A TREE
New York : Nancy Paulsen, 2015
IL 5-8, RL 4.2
Ally Nickerson spends a lot of time in the Principal’s office. She does not always understand what she did wrong to get there. She has also had to move a lot, seven schools in her twelve years. Her father is in the military and is currently deployed overseas.
Ally demonstrates unique brightness and interesting drawing capabilities as she doodles in her “Sketchbook of Impossible Things,” but at other times her good intentions lead to disastrous consequences, all because she cannot tell the absolute truth, not to her principal, not to her teacher, not to her Mom, not to her friends. Ally still cannot read, no matter how hard she tries. And she does try, but reading for Ally is “still like trying to make sense of a can of alphabet soup that’s been dumped on a plate. She just doesn’t get how other people do it. Ally Nickerson + reading = Impossible!
To say that Ally stands out is stating the obvious, but she is not totally alone. She develops friendships with a couple of other class misfits; “Tell–it-like-it-is Keisha and science and fact obsessed Albert who wears the same “Flint” shirt to school everyday and is often seen with mysterious bruises.
In the course of their school year they get a new teacher, Mr. Daniels who sees the child first, before the student. There are heroes in this book and they are not only the adults.
This book is a “Silver Dollar” read.
The Fish in a Tree title comes from a quote often misappropriated to Albert Einstein;
“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.”
The truth of a quote has nothing to do with who it came from, but it would be fine and fitting had it been Einstein.
(Kathleen Fencil, NH Great Stone Face Committee)