No matter how many times I have prayed and worked and hoped, reading for me is still like trying to make sense of a can of alphabet soup that’s been dumped on a plate. I just don’t know how other people do it (p 10).
Ally has always struggled to read. Her homework assignments take hours and only succeed in giving her a headache. So she thinks in pictures. She is as adept at drawing as she is at distracting her teacher from the real problem.
When her teacher takes maternity leave, Ally is anxious. The new teacher, Mr. Daniels, is unlike any she’s had before. Soon Ally is making friends, staying out of the Principal’s office and being singled out for her cleverness.
While the broad plot is simple and straightforward, the actual story is nuanced, suffused with three-dimensional characters and subtle passages that rend the heart. Ally is a delightful, hopeful and utterly endearing character, as are her friends Albert and Keisha.
Mr. Daniels will remind readers of that one special teacher who held a torch in a dark world, whose light allowed them to cast their own brilliant light. Highly recommended.
This book reminded me of another excellent title, for a slightly older reader, called Blue Fish by Pat Schmatz.