Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: A Snicker of Magic

This book caught my eye on our "new books" shelf a couple months ago. A Snicker of Magic was published in February of this year, and is the very first book by Natalie Lloyd Page. The bright cover caught my attention, and come on, who doesn't like ice cream? After watching it sit on the shelf, then reading someone else's rave review about it, I decided to give it a try.
I have not been a "middle grade" (typically 4th-6th) reader since I was in those grades myself. During the last year or so I have been on a YA kick, and just recently finished all of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. So diving into a smaller chapter book was a little strange for me. I was worried there would not be the character development that can come with longer books, but I had nothing to fear. This book was amazing.

Felicity Pickle (12 years old) lives with her mother and younger sister, and they are constantly on the move. They never seem to settle into any one place for very long before Felicity's mother gets the itch to leave and uproots them from their temporary home and school. When they arrive in Midnight Gulch, something is different. Felicity's mother grew up there, but there is definitely magic in the air. All her life Felicity has been able to see literal words around people and things, which she writes in journals or on her shoes, and in Midnight Gulch other people seem to have small amounts of magic as well. Even the ice cream is magical.

As the history of the town unfolds, friendships form and Felicity is hopeful they've finally found a place to really call home. There are many things in this book that kids can relate to -- being a little different and not fitting in, being the new kid in class, a single-parent home, wishing for friendship, the desire to help others, and more.

A few other people's blog posts that I've read are already calling for A Snicker of Magic to be a Newbery candidate. As I said earlier I don't have much experience with reading middle-grade, but I can definitely see why this book could become an award winner. Such amazing word-pictures, plot line, character development, and just enough magic to make it fictional, yet not so much to make it unbelievable. As Felicity would say, it's a "spindiddly" book!

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