Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Snicker of Magic

Title:  A Snicker of Magic
Author:  Natalie Lloyd
Publication Information:  Scholastic Press. 2014. 320 pages.
ISBN:  0545552702 / 978-0545552707

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "Home isn't just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you're brave enough to love people."

Guest Post - A Ten Year Old's Perspective

As a ten year old, I think A Snicker of Magic is a very clever book. It has words in a story that I have never heard of.

Felicity Pickle is a shy girl who plucks words out of the air and makes poems. She is growing tired of moving from town to town. When they come to Midnight Gulch, she wants to stay.

The townspeople say that there is a still a "snicker" of magic left in Midnight Gulch. It is leftover from when everyone had powers. Everyone like the Brothers Threadbare, who were brothers and musicians but who became enemies.

Felicity meets Jonah, who does nice things for everyone. She also meets her uncle, who failed in the music business. She decides to enter her school's talent show to stay in the town longer. Will she get over her fear of speaking in front of large audiences? Read the book and find out.

I think the book is fantastic because it has a wide variety of character personalities from wanderers to musicians. Also, it has a great plot. Felicity wants to stay in this town because she thinks it's special, but her mother makes her move a lot. Will they stay this time? The book is magical because it talks about magic and curses and people who have powers. These are the reasons why I like the book.

My Review - An Adult Perspective

The book defines the title. A "snicker" is "magic leftover .... not good for much, not as fancy as it used to be - but enough to make it special."

Twelve year old Felicity Pickle is looking for some magic. She is looking to settle down, to call a place home, and to find a place where she belongs. Her father is not around. Her mother has a "wandering heart" and moves Felicity and her younger sister Frannie Jo from place to place. Never staying. Never settling. Never making a home.

The start of the book brings the three of them to Midnight Gulch, the town where Felicity's mother grew up. Her aunt Cleo still lives there and gives them a home.

Midnight Gulch is a place that was once magical. Maybe, it still is. The townspeople tell the story of the Brothers Threadbare, with whom the magic supposedly left. Felicity learns about the Beedle, who seems to know where a need exists and who secretly meets it.  Marking the entrance to the town is the Gallery, a large mural that once celebrated what made Midnight Gulch a wonderful place. The town revolves around the ice cream factory that makes esoteric flavors based on the people in town, including a flavor that makes you remember but does not give you the choice whether the memory will be a happy one or a sad one.

Felicity herself is a word collector. She sees words around people and place and writes them down. Yet, when it comes time to speak, words sometimes fail her. In Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks that perhaps she can find her voice after all. Throughout the book, the refrain repeats, "Your words matter more than you know."

Felicity finds that all these things along with the friends she finds make her want to call Midnight Gulch home and want to convince her mother to stay.

As an adult, I want to reach out and support Felicity - to encourage her to take the chances and to reassure her that things will work out. Young readers will relate to her need to belong, her worries over being the new kid, and her work to overcome her fears.

I do have one concern about the way the book is written. I love words, but the repetitive nature of the word collecting sometimes overwhelms this story especially as some of the words are made up. Not all the words Felicity sees and collects are actual words. Also, the words are not a one time mention; made-up words like "spindiddly" repeat throughout the book. While I appreciate the creativity, I think that literature written for this age group should also focus on correct use of language.

Overall, a host of interesting characters, a little bit of magic, and some intriguing town history all make this a fun tale to read.

Targeted for Grades 3 - 7.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment