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Fish in a tree
2017
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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.
Trade Reviews
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.
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
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First Chapter or Excerpt
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1In Trouble Againp. 1
Chapter 2Yellow Cardp. 6
Chapter 3Never up to Mep. 11
Chapter 4Bird in a Cagep. 16
Chapter 5Silver Dollars and Wooden Nickelsp. 24
Chapter 6Triple-Sided Coinp. 30
Chapter 7No Grandpas Herep. 35
Chapter 8Real Troublep. 39
Chapter 9Bag Full of Nothingp. 43
Chapter 10Promises, Promises...p. 53
Chapter 11Scrambled Eggp. 58
Chapter 12What's Your Problem, Albert?p. 64
Chapter 13Trouble with Flowersp. 70
Chapter 14Boxed in and Boxed Outp. 75
Chapter 15Ungreased Gearsp. 82
Chapter 16What I've Gotp. 88
Chapter 17Misfit Lunchp. 91
Chapter 18Truths and Untruthsp. 96
Chapter 19Not-So-Sweet Secretp. 101
Chapter 20Is This a Good Thing?p. 108
Chapter 21Butterfly Wishesp. 114
Chapter 22No Way to Treat a Queenp. 119
Chapter 23Words That Breathep. 122
Chapter 24Imaginary Herop. 126
Chapter 25Celebration or Devastation?p. 133
Chapter 26Stallingp. 137
Chapter 27Half-Baked Afternoonp. 141
Chapter 28Deal of a Lifetimep. 145
Chapter 29Fish in a Treep. 150
Chapter 30Miserable Kingp. 160
Chapter 31Lots of Ways Homep. 164
Chapter 32Screen Timep. 168
Chapter 33Possibilitiesp. 174
Chapter 34Birth of a Starp. 178
Chapter 35A Picture is Worth a Gazillion Wordsp. 185
Chapter 36In the Game of Life...p. 190
Chapter 37A Chicken, a Wolf, and a Problemp. 193
Chapter 38Loser for Presidentp. 198
Chapter 39To-Shayp. 202
Chapter 40Tears of Different Kindsp. 209
Chapter 41Not-So-Secret Letterp. 211
Chapter 42The Gifts of No Excuses, Scotch Tape, and Antibioticsp. 217
Chapter 43Set the World on Firep. 223
Chapter 44Tales of a Sixth Grade Somethingp. 225
Chapter 45My Brother's Questionp. 228
Chapter 46Flying Tigers and Baby Elephantsp. 232
Chapter 47Great Minds Don't Think Alikep. 236
Chapter 48Oliver's idea of Luckyp. 244
Chapter 49I See the Lightp. 250
Chapter 50A Hero's Jobp. 253
Chapter 51C-O-U-R-A-GEniusp. 260
Acknowledgmentsp. 269
Letter from the Authorp. 273
Discussion Questionsp. 275
The Sketchbook of Impossible Thingsp. 277
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