Written by Natalie Lloyd
I feel like this book is a little bit messy, but only in good ways. It is cluttered with memorable characters, with wonderful words, with colorful side stories and folklore, with humor, with loose ends, with sadness and loneliness, with hope and forgiveness, with music, with art, with flavors of ice cream, with good deed pranksters, with a flavor of ice cream that brings back memories and tastes bitter or sweet depending on whether the memories are happy or sad, with Tennessee mountain folk music-playing wizards who fight duels of magic, with more and more words swirling around everyone and everything, and above all else, with much more than just a snicker of magic. It explores the messiness of real family life and relationships. It is full of imperfect and sad people, but there is a lot of love to go around to compensate for the messiness.
I read this book months ago but have been unable to conjure up a review that adequately expresses my thoughts and enthusiasm about this book. So I’ll just sum it up with this: here are five stars, I want more books like this please.
Read-alikes: If you loved Turnage’s Three Times Lucky and Ghosts of Tupelo Landing and you are willing to accept a bit more magic and slightly less sass this may be just the book for you. I would also recommend this to readers who liked Because of Winn-Dixie. It’s a nice counterpart because where Dicamillo’s style is concentrated and tight, Lloyd’s writing overflows. Both ways are wonderfully effective so I think they are great comparisons. A Snicker of Magic would also be an excellent vocabulary-builder and mentor text for students’ own creative writing.
Review by Joshua Whiting, Granite Library Media Program / Educational Technology Dept.
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-8
I’m including the summary from the publisher because it is so much better than my summary would have been:
Some people collect baseball cards. Or hedgehogs. Or belly-button lint. Not Felicity Pickle. She collects words — words people are thinking about, or words they want. Some words glow, and some dance. Some have wings, and some have zebra stripes.
Yet although Felicity has been all over the country, there’s one word she’s never seen — home.
Felicity is tired of wandering from place to place. Making new friends can be harder than fractions…especially when words like loser and clutzerdoodle fill the classroom every time you open your mouth.
But when her mama’s van, the Pickled Jalepeno, rolls into Midnight Gulch, Felicity feels her luck begin to change. For the first time, she’s found a place where she can grow some good memories… and maybe even make a friend.
That’s because Midnight Gulch used to be magical — a town where people could dance up thunderstorms and bake secrets into pies — until a curse drove the magic away.
At least, that’s what most people think.
Felicity can tell there’s still a snicker of magic in Midnight Gulch. It hasn’t disappeared; it’s just been playing hide-and-seek for a very long time.
All she has to do is find the right words to turn it lose.
Author Website: http://natalielloyd.blogspot.com/
A Snicker of Magic
Written by Natalie Lloyd
Release Date: February 25, 2014
ISBN: 9780545552707 (hardcover)