Saturday, March 15, 2014
A Snicker of Magic, written by Natalie Lloyd. Scholastic, 2014. $18.99 ages 8 and up
My brain can hardly get itself around the fact that this wonderful, inspired, and truly lovely novel is a DEBUT for Natalie Lloyd. My, she has written it brilliantly, and she's given me a host of memorable characters that I long to meet again!
So much has been written about it that you might not even need to read this recommendation. I just can't help telling you about it. It put a smile on my face that is sure to last for hours and days, and return whenever I think about Felicity Juniper Pickle, her family, her best friend Jonah and the beautiful people of Midnight Gulch.
When Felicity and family arrive there, just another stop in their life of wandering. her artistic Mama explains that it used to be 'a magical place to call home'. As they drive past the town's welcome sign, they note that it now says that Midnight Gulch is 'a proper place to call home'. Felicity is not so sure:
"I didn't say another word to Mama that night, but I could feel something good even then: the YES in my heart, the swirling-around in my belly, the prickly tingling all the way from the freckle on my finger to the tip of my pinky toe. That much wonderful could only mean one thing:
There was still magic in Midnight Gulch.
This is how I turned it loose..."
And turn it loose she does, thanks to the support, love and assistance of the special people she meets there. It is, after all, where Mama grew up. Perhaps it will soothe her wandering heart. While the setting has great warmth and appeal, it is the characters who become our friends that up the ante for the pleasure of reading all about them. They are many and varied, and worthy of our attention and love. Their stories are endless; magical, mysterious, and entertaining.
Felicity loves words, and sees them everywhere. She then collects them in her blue book. As she meets the people, hears their stories, learns about the connections to the old timers, including the Threadbare brothers whose curse has impacted all that happens in their town, the magic of her word collecting works some magic of its own.
You will want to meet them all, to know their stories, and to know that Felicity makes some very important discoveries for herself:
"I still missed Roger Pickle. I was still hurt that he hadn't come back to us. But I didn't feel like my family was in pieces anymore. We might never look like a normal family, but I didn't mind. Normal was never one of my favorite words anyway. I glanced up at the painted faces of all the people I'd come to know, and wanted to know. Home isn't just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you're brave enough to love people."