Monday, February 23, 2015

A Snicker of Magic


A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (for ages 8 to 12, Scholastic, February 2014; paperback coming April 2015)

Source: My local library

Synopsis (adapted from the publisher's website): Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere, but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.

Why I recommend it: Natalie Lloyd's spindiddly way with words! If I didn't know better, I'd think I was reading a cross between Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss, with a generous helping of made-up words along with a heaping portion of real words that are both scrumptious and colorful. The quirky characters and marvelous setting are further reasons to fall in love with this imaginative novel. I wish Blackberry Sunrise ice cream really existed (eating it helps you remember). And I wish I had this much imagination. 

Bonus: I appreciate that Jonah is in a wheelchair but the author doesn't make a big deal out of it. It's simply the way Jonah is. 

My favorite quote:  "Sometimes you don't need words to feel better; you just need the nearness of your dog." (from p. 173)

P.S. I hope the typo on p. 229 will be fixed in the paperback. Seriously: "Oliver slammed on the breaks". I guess even the best copy editor can't catch every error and this book with its invented words must have been a real challenge to edit. The publisher's full synopsis also includes a typo ("church eves" -- um, I think you mean eaves). Sorry. Things like that actually bother me...


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Have you read A Snicker of Magic? What did you think?  


18 comments:

  1. So glad you really liked this. Me too. It's a fantastic story with great characters and wonderful words.

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    1. I remember reading about this on your blog, Natalie. Might have been the first place I saw it reviewed.

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  2. Loved this one, too. The cover just screams for it to be read. Makes a great read-aloud, too.

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  3. I haven't read this yet, but it is high on my TBR list. I am also driven crazy by typos in published books. Thanks for this review.

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    1. Oh good, Rosi. Glad I'm not the only one!

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  4. I couldn't get into this one, but I think it was because I was trying to read too many books at once--always a problem for me. :) But I've been meaning to try it again--thanks for the nudge! I like what you said about Jonah--it's always a plus when authors treats kids with disabilities as normal, regular people.

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    1. Oh, Jenni, I couldn't have read this and another book at the same time. It needs its own space, I think. But I also frequently say that not every book is for every reader.

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  5. Really liked the fun words in this one! But typos bother me, too.

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    1. Happy to hear it, Andrea. That one seemed so obvious to me, but I also know copy editing is a difficult job.

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  6. I read A Snicker of Magic and absolutely loved it! It is so beautifully written. I loved the made up words too! :) Great review.
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks, Jess. Glad to hear you loved it so much!

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  7. Ooooh... now I'm hooked! Thanks for the review!!!

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    1. You're welcome, Stella. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. Great review. My favorite book last year. So magical! Want to read it again.

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  9. I loved the premise, loved the language, was prepared to completely love the story, but then the plot foundered a bit in the middle, I put the book down, it was due at the library, and I never did finish it. I feel badly because in all respects it seemed like a book made for me, but in the end it didn't grab me tightly enough.

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    1. That happens, Kim. I could imagine this book isn't for everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

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