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Fish in a Tree

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  54,520 ratings  ·  6,427 reviews
“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 ca
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 5th 2015 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Lolo Well everyone has different book prefrences. Just because other kids didn't like it doesn't mean you wouldn't like it. I am around your age and I real…moreWell everyone has different book prefrences. Just because other kids didn't like it doesn't mean you wouldn't like it. I am around your age and I really liked the book.(less)
Frances Sayer In the beginning, no. But later on, Ally's mom finds out from Ally's teacher.…moreIn the beginning, no. But later on, Ally's mom finds out from Ally's teacher.(less)

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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  54,520 ratings  ·  6,427 reviews

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Brandy Painter sheep here in a big way, but I"m completely at a loss to explain why this has an average of nearly 4.5 stars. I actually ALMOST gave it 2 stars, but thought maybe I was being too nitpicky about the biggest problems I had with the book (see below). I still might come back and do that, but thought I would give myself some time to consider.

ETA: DAYS of considering this book in more detail has convinced me that I can't leave this at three starts so I've dropped it to my original thou
Ally and her experiences will resonate with many children and teachers. A beautiful, hopeful story.
Elyse  Walters
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audiobook… Read by Kathleen McInerney.

“Living in a world of impossible things like in ‘Alice in wonderland’ a world where nothing makes sense makes perfect sense to Ally.

Ally is so darn adorable and lovable!!!!
The sixth grader is a whiz at math, a terrific little artist, and has a priceless imagination....
but she can’t read.
She has fooled teachers -year after year... in different schools. The letters on the page wiggle and give her headaches. She has dyslexia. And probably a controvers
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
It's extremely hard for me to review this book objectively because it has a lot of personal meaning for me.

My daughter's class read Fish in a Tree when she was in 4th grade, and she was beyond excited. She felt seen for the first time because she had just been diagnosed officially with dyslexia a few weeks before. And getting that diagnosis and the help she needed was truly life-changing, just like it was for the main character in this book.

For those of you out there reading this book who thin
Adam James
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I'm pretty confused at the amount of 4 and 5 star reviews for this one. It's almost like people haven't read this exact book 57 times already.

Apparently I'm in the minority in proclaiming there to be way more wrong with Fish in a Tree than there is right.

So...we have a book about a dyslexic child that's close to 300 pages. Is Hunt trying to give dyslexic kids a panic attack?
Also, as a sixth grade reading and writing teacher, it's UNFATHOMABLE to believe that a child could make it all the way t
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Ugh. Two stars is definitely generous for this one, but I guess I would recommend it (not very enthusiastically) to middle-graders who like problem novels and aren't old enough to notice that this is hackneyed as hell. There is a mean girl who is cartoonishly mean, a sassy black best friend (SERIOUSLY?), a smart kid who talks like Data (ARGH), a super shy Japanese girl who talks in broken English (*headdesk*), and a warm-hearted cool male teacher who wears funny ties and saves the day while sayi ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was a fairly sweet story, but I felt like it was too much what is "trendy" right now - writing books about children with difficulties fitting in who make great discoveries about their identities and gain sudden confidence. This is an easy story to tell, but it's not realistic.

Furthermore, I felt that the characters were very stereotypical and not well-developed. This bothers me in children's books because the popular girls are always mean, the nerdy kids get beat up all the time, and the t
Dec 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Really? A student makes it to sixth grade without any educators realizing she can't read? ...more
Jeannette Nikolova
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read on the WondrousBooks blog.

"I want to give him an answer, but I have both too many words and not enough."

To be honest, this book was an unexpected gem for me. I liked the cover and I was in for some new books from NetGalley, but I didn't think it would be awesome, I expected a pleasant enough read at most. Turned out it was quite the amazing book after all.

Fish In A Tree tells the story of a young girl who can't make the words and letters stay in place and always feels out of her dep
I do indeed feel more than a bit conflicted regarding Lynda Mullally Hunt's Fish in a Tree. As while I have definitely found the novel very much and generally an engaging and emotionally satisfying reading experience (and have especially enjoyed main protagonist Ally Nickerson's voice, appreciate her struggles with undiagnosed dyslexia, and have also found her two best friends Albert and Keisha both personally relatable and generally for the most part realistically enough drawn and depicted by t ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

“Great minds don’t think alike.”
4.5 stars...strong, relatable book about a girl with a secret. Ally gets into trouble all the time at school because she won't do her reading and writing. She won't follow directions, and she makes really bad decisions about what she does and says.

She is a talented artist, as her brother is a talented long as they don't have to read the directions.

For years they have both hidden the fact they can't read or write. They distract, they overcompensate, and they just take the hits as b
Jun 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
I started listening to this and had to stop about 10% in. It was so annoying.

1. The narrator, the gal we're supposed to be all sympathetic for, is freaking annoying. When she scribbled all over her desk....oi.

2. As a teacher I have a hard time believing that this girl made it all the way to sixth grade with no one seeing that she can't read. We're required to give individual reading assessments twice a year, usually takes me two whole days to get through the whole class, and if a child can't r
Fish in a Tree

I hope every reader takes the time to read this book. . . .it may be aimed at juveniles (don’t like that label!) but I know more grown-ups than kids that could do with this author’s fantastic message: we all learn (read / think / behave) differently. We need to investigate and accommodate all modes of learning to enable success.

I so enjoyed the teacher, Mr. Daniels, who steps up and fills the Teacher shoes as they should be filled! The reader is shown Ally’s successes sprinkled in
Michelle Haseltine
This is a book written with so much heart! It's a book for teachers everywhere. Mr. Daniels is the teacher we all want to be. It's a book for any student (or any person) who feels less than or invisible and wants to fit in. I laughed and cried and I really felt everything that Ally was going through. The characters are so real to me...I miss them. This is one of those books that you don't want to miss!!! Get ready for an amazing reading experience! I know it's a book I'll be returning to again a ...more
Barb Middleton
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read oodles of books. Always have. Always will. Sure wish these blogs were around when I was growing up in the age of typewriters. My reading experiences are quite different than the students I chat with on a daily basis. They come at books with their own unique perspectives. Just like me. Just like you. This book has an appealing emotional punch that is similar to "Wonder," by R.J. Palacio and terrific character development. As an adult reader who has many favorites when it comes to books on ...more
3.5 stars
"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 Nickerson has successfully hidden her inability to read from all the many schools she's been in throughout her life. But a new teacher forces her to address the problem, and pushes her to places she'd never thought she could go.

This book was fine. 3.5 stars in basically the very middle of the rating spectrum, so I'm just kind of neutral.

Kellee Moye
Full review at:

5 stars times 100. I adore so much about this book.
Ally is so many students that I have had over the years that just needed a teacher to take the time.
Mr. Daniels is the teacher that I hope I am, that I wish I could be, that I want all teachers to be, and that I want to be friends with.
Ally's journey is one that I hope I inspire my students to have.
Keisha is the friend I wish I'd had.
Albert is so many student in our schools that are ju
Jill Williamson
This is a book my fourth grade class will be reading as a read-aloud this year, so I wanted to read it ahead of time so that I was familiar with the story. It's about a girl named Ally who hates to read and write. She spends a lot of time in the principal's office because when her teacher puts her on the spot, she misbehaves rather than admit her struggles. Then she gets a new teacher who manages to reach Ally and discover that she struggles with dyslexia, which at first is scary to her, but eve ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was pleased to get my hands on an advance copy of this book. Being a huge fan of the author's first novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, I was a little skeptical how this story would compare. However, I should not have worried. Mullaly Hunt has done it again! The author has a real talent for making fictional characters come alive, like "reach out and touch them and share their ice cream" alive, for her readers.
The story tenderly follows the struggles of a student named Ally, a bright young woman whose
This book was compelling enough that I listened to the whole thing in two days and it is an encouraging look at a whole bunch of different kids who eventually learn to value each others strengths. I think kids will probably enjoy it and be able to see themselves in at least one of the characters.

There are, however, some things that make me a bit uncomfortable about it. Several of the characters seem like caricatures of certain types of kids: the brain, the girl bully, the outspoken confident kid
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WOW! I love a book that makes me want to cry when it's over because it's THAT good. If you loved Wonder, or Out of My Mind, or So B. It, or Counting By Sevens, this HAS to be your next read. I loved the way Hunt developed the characters in this story...I felt like I genuinely got to know all of them. Even though the "bully" in this story was dealt with a bit formulaically, the point was made and the lives of all the characters were better for it in the end. This was an incredibly engaging way to ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Ally struggles in school, often getting in trouble for flippant behavior that she uses to deflect the teacher's attention to the fact that she has trouble reading and writing. When she gives her teacher a sympathy card at a baby shower, she gets in even more trouble, but no one at school still pays attention. Her family has moved around quite a bit because her father is in the military, but her brother has had problems with reading as well. Luckily, the substitute for the pregnant teacher, Mr. D ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book , and while it is geared towards upper primary, early secondary ,I think it is a must read for all adults too who have ever felt ,judged for being different or has lived with the difficulty of dyslexia. Don’t be put off by the title it relates to one of Albert Einstein’s best quotes,
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Soraya Laboy
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A story about finding your true friends, bravery and grit; about asking for help when you need it, and offering help when you see it is needed; about realizing that just because you struggle in school doesn't mean you don't have amazing gifts and talents that will take you far. ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book too much! The story of Ally and her struggles will resonate with me for a very long time.
It’s a light book with a deep message.
That every child, adult and teachers should read.
It shows how important it is to be a good teacher! 👏🏻❤️
Mary Lee
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book will be a sure hit with teachers. Kids will likely recognize classmates in the realistic classroom. Great message about grit and celebrating differences.
Ulises Estrada
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I love this book, and the message it has, and the characters (except Shay), but why that ending?
Seriously, I just turned the page and that was it, the end.
I mean I get it, but I thought something else was going to happen.
Ally's development was excellent from the beginning of the book to its end and she has become one of my favorite characters.
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book! I listened to it in the car and was absolutely riveted by the storyline. Every teacher can think of a student that has behavior issues and/or an attitude that is inexplicable and annoying. Every teacher will wonder, "Did I miss something? What did that child need from me?" This book tells a story like this from the viewpoint of a child who is oh so smart & talented in so many ways, but does not succeed in school. As a result she is frustrated and acts out. Highly recomm ...more
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