Fish in a Tree
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars)
Reviewed by: Leah Baumgartner
Fish in a Tree is realistic story about Ally Nickerson. Ally is a sixth grader who struggles with reading and acts out at school in an attempt to distract others from her difficulties. The problem is that she has begun to believe that the cruel names that some of her classmates have taken to calling her are true. Fortunately for her, things begin to change when she gets a new teacher, Mr. Daniels. He takes the time to look beyond her disruptive behavior, see her unique gifts and talents, and helps her learn to read well.
This is a thoughtful, heartwarming book that encourages the reader to take a closer look at the people around them and the relationships that we have with them. It shows how easy and dangerous it is to slap a stereotype on someone and then treat them as if that label is all that there is to know about a person. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “People act like the words ‘slow reader’ tell them everything that’s inside. Like I’m a can of soup and they can just read the list of ingredients and know everything about me. There’s a lot of stuff about the soup inside that they can’t put on the label, like how it smells and tastes and makes you feel warm when you eat it. There’s got to be more to me than just a kid who can’t read well.”
I enjoyed watching Ally’s character develop over the course of the book. She overcame the labels that others had placed on her and looked beyond some of the labels that she had placed on others to find new friends. The end of the book hit just the right notes and was very satisfying!
If you enjoy realistic fiction with interesting main characters, who would be a pleasure to know in real life, try reading “Fish in a Tree.”