A Snicker of Magic first caught my eye, before it was even released, because of the magically fun cover. I can tell you now that the story is even sweeter than its ice cream-laden cover. Felicity Pickle just arrived in Midnight Gulch, a town formerly full of magic, after spending years tagging along with her nomadic mother in the Jalapeño Pickle, the family van. Felicity is a word collector; she sees words floating over people, items, even falling from speech, but Midnight Gulch is the first place that she's seen the word "home". Felicity quickly makes a best friend in Jonah, a quirky, wheelchair-bound, local-hero-in-disguise. Jonah encourages Felicity to participate in a school talent competition, sharing her words, something that Felicity has struggled with for a very long time. It might take more than a "snicker of magic" to help Felicity share her words, and at the same time, help Midnight Gulch overcome its past, breaking the spell that has long been troubling the entire town.
A Snicker of Magic is a factofabulous read from beginning to end. The quirky characters, the mysterious pall cast over the town, the sprinkling of made-up (spindiddly!) words, the beautiful language...every morsel made Snicker all the more difficult to put down. Natalie Lloyd's enchanting personality beams from behind every corner. I wanted to hug Felicity's friend Jonah every time he appeared. Aside from wishing to snuff the chain-smoking aunt's cigarette every few pages, I loved every minute of toe-tapping, ice cream-tasting, word-catching, banjo-dueling delight between these pages. I couldn't imagine a more magical way to begin summer than with this sparkling masterpiece.
In addition to masterful storytelling, Natalie Lloyd left me with a few favorite quotes that I've read as of late. I'll share just a few here.
"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."
"And if you say 'I love you,' and you mean it, then love makes up for a whole lifetime of mistakes. That's some kind of magic."
"I guess it doesn't matter who reached out first, though. What matters is that one of them reached out. What matters is that the other one held on."
This is Natalie Lloyd's first novel. I hope we'll be reading another one very soon.
You can find A Snicker of Magic in the Middle Grade Books section of The Book Children's Store.