Title: A Snicker of MagicAdd to Goodreads
Author: Natalie Lloyd
Pub. Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade
Rec. Age Level: 8-12
Felicity Pickle travels the country with her mother and little sister, never staying in one place for long. Her mother is cursed with a wandering heart, but the girls are used to it. Felicity is always on the watch for signs that her mother's read to head somewhere new and her sister carries a suitcase filled with her most precious possessions everywhere she goes. As the Pickle women roll into Midnight Gulch, the town where Felicity's mama grew up, Felicity considers the stories she's heard about the small town... stories that tell of Midnight Gulch as a town once filled with happy families gifted with magical abilities, now cursed. Her mother tells her that Midnight Gulch has lost it's magic, but Felicity isn't so sure.
Felicity is a "word collector." She sees words sparkling and curling and darting through the air and hovering over family, friends, and strangers. She's collected most words you can imagine - and even some you can't - in her special notebook, but, in Midnight Gulch, Felicity is seeing words she's never seen before, like "home" and "friend." And, for maybe the first time, Felicity comes to dread the signs that her mother's wandering heart is yearning for adventure.
With the help of Jonah, a new friend that has a few magical secrets of his own, Felicity begins to unravel the curse of the mysterious Brothers Threadbare, the curse that drained Midnight Gulch of its magic.
A SNICKER OF MAGIC is an exuberant story populated with magical deeds, memorable characters, and inspiring lessons of friendship, family, and hope.
There are so many things to love about A SNICKER OF MAGIC.
First, the wonderful, magical ability of Felicity Pickle to see words. Natalie Lloyd describes the words that Felicity collects as they appear in the world around her, giving them a life of their own. I spent much of the book looking forward to which words Felicity would see next... and what they'd be doing as she collected them with dedication and care.
Second, the curious town of Midnight Gulch, with it's gifted - both magically and otherwise - inhabitants. Even cursed, the people of Midnight Gulch sparkle with life and love. Though it's hard to choose a favorite from the cast of characters, I do have a soft spot for Felicity's friend Jonah. This boy always of others; he is always giving to others and finding ways to spread happiness. Jonah is an inspiration for many reasons, one of which readers might often forget: Jonah is wheelchair-bound. But perhaps "bound" is the wrong word, because Jonah never seems held back in anyway. Though Jonah has wheels instead of legs, Lloyd doesn't linger on this detail, and readers will never see him as less than a wonderful, inspiring boy from Midnight Gulch.
And last, but not least, the intensely quotable nature of this novel. I could barely read a handful of pages without jotting down and bookmarking a line or passage that I loved. Natalie Lloyd, much like Felicity, has a gift driven by the magic of words and her writing shines!
“I made a big show of catching invisible words in my hands and putting them in my mouth and chewing on them. I knew my word-catching charade wasn't the best way to make a fast friend at Stoneberry Elementary School. But it was the only way I could think of to make my sister feel better. And I think if you're lucky, a sister is the same as a friend, but better. A sister is like a super-forever-infinity friend.” -- from A Snicker of Magic