A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

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—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—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. Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.

snicker

A Snicker of Magic had been sitting on my ‘to read’ shelf for a while.   As a librarian, and lover of words, I immediately fell for this charming middle grade read. Set in the magical town of Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, readers are introduced to a variety of quirky characters.  I found it hard to keep track of the cast of characters, as they were mostly introduced with a long back story.   Besides the excess characters, one very special little lady stood out; the narrator, 12 year-old Felicity Pickle.  I could relate to her love of words and social anxiety. She explains, “… I like words; I collect them. I like poems, songs, stories…everything. But words never sound right when I try to string them together and say them out load. They’re just for me to keep (p.38)”. Felicity sees words, and they appear in a variety of different ways. My favourite was for ‘believe’- “The letters were made of melted sunshine. They dropped down the window glass, warm and tingly against our faces (pg.8)”.Although I enjoyed her visions of hovering words, I got irritated with the overuse of her word ‘spindiddly’ (better than awesome).

Overall, it’s a positive, uplifting tale of the magic of words and stories.  I loved the hopeful and satisfying epilogue in which Felicity asserts, “

“…I’m convinced Midnight Gulch can’t be the only magical town in the world. I bet there’s a snicker of magic on every street, in every old building, every broken heart, every word of a story. Maybe it’s hidden away and you need to look harder for it. Or maybe the magic is right there, right in front of you, and all you have to do is believe (p.309)”

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