Monday, October 12, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Fish in a Tree

I’ve heard about this one from many other bloggers and was excited when it finally became available at my local library. I read it as an e-book, but this is one where I might just buy my own copy. A very cool thing about this book is that the author is posting Q & A videos about the book to celebrate Global Read Aloud 2015.

“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.

Fish in a Tree was written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and published by Nancy Paulsen Books of the Penguin Group in 2015.

My Take:

I connected with Ally’s character as she struggled to cope with teasing and bullying when other students noticed her struggle with reading. I liked the spark in her personality. Since she is a talented artist, I wondered what her drawings would’ve looked like. Her friends Keisha and Albert were caring and supportive and added some humor to the story. It was great to see a teacher portrayed as caring and willing to help Ally.

As a writer, I admired the language and interesting images the author chose to bring out key moments. Much of this story is told through dialogue, so it’s a good one to read to see how to use dialogue effectively.  

Opening Line:

“It’s always there. Like the ground underneath my feet.”


“My mind does this all the time—shows me these movies that seem so real that they carry me away inside of them.”

“I believe that the things we put numbers on are not necessarily the things that count the most. You can’t measure the stuff that makes us human.”

“Whatever was going to happen at the lunch table is something I’m lucky to have missed.”

Other Info:

Lynda Mullaly Hunt drew on her own experiences as a child with reading difficulties when writing FISH IN A TREE.

She also wrote the middle grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS.

On her website she says, “I write about really decent kids—ordinary and extraordinary at the same time—who find themselves in difficult circumstances and find ways to walk themselves out of it.”

During October, she is celebrating Global Read Aloud 2015 with giveaways and special videos answering questions about the book. You also can hear her reading the first chapter.

And I just have to mention that I absolutely love the inspiring slogan on her blog: “Be someone’s hero. No cape required.”

For more middle grade book recommendations, check out the links at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like another great book by Lynda. And I saw in Publishers Weekly that she jusst sold another book.


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