Monday, September 22, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: A Snicker of Magic

It's a very gloomy Monday here - the perfect day to snuggle up with a good book. This one has a bit of magic in it, though if you are a big fan of Harry Potter, this probably isn't the kind of magic you're looking for. The real magic in this story is the magic of love, family and people caring about each other.

Today’s Pick: A Snicker of Magic

by Natalie Lloyd

Scholastic Press, 2014

From Amazon:

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.

My Take:

The fun twist on magic was a nice concept that intrigued me. I especially liked the idea of “word collecting”.  I’m not a big fan of novels that contain lots of little stories about people, but if you like books about small towns and the quirky people that live there, you’ll enjoy this book. As a character, Felicity is charming and caring and I was hoping throughout the story that she’d get what she wanted—to stay in Midnight Gulch.

From a writer’s perspective, I enjoyed and admired the language and phrasing in this story. I could tell the writer worked hard at creating Felicity’s unique voice and expressions. This is a good one to study carefully to see how the author brings a character to life.

Opening Line:

“They say all the magic is gone up out of this place,” said Mama.


“Just the thought of real magic sent shivers from my nose to my toes.”

“But good stories take your heart someplace else. My body’d never been out of south Georgia. But my heart lived everywhere. I’d lived a hundred lives without ever leaving my tree.”

“She told stories in such a way that I swear my heart heard them before my ears did.”

Other Info:

Natalie Lloyd owns a very sweet dog named Biscuit.

A Snicker of Magic is her first published book.

To find out more about her, check out this interview with Natalie Lloyd at

For more, visit Natalie Lloyd’s blog or find her on Facebook.

Looking for more great middle grade reads? Visit Shannon Messenger's website for a list of bloggers and their picks for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! 


  1. I liked the idea of word collecting too. Glad you enjoyed this. Me too.

  2. I had a chance to read this over the summer and enjoyed it very much. My reading was also done from a writer's perspective to chart how she developed her characters. Well done all around - both the book and your review!

  3. I'm going to have to pick this up again. I remember enjoying the word play, but had a hard time getting into it at first. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. This has been on my TBR list since I first heard about it. I really must read this book. It sounds truly delightful.

  5. This one made my list some time ago, then somehow slipped off. Not sure if it was a timing thing, or if I didn't quite connect with what I was hearing, but your review makes me want to pick it up again and give it a longer look this time!


  6. I adored this book~ such a very unique voice and such large amounts of heart. I can't wait to read what Natalie Lloyd writes next!

  7. I wanted to love it, but found the words appearing in the air just a bit too author-intrusive. Love that cover!


I love to hear your responses and thoughts! Your comments will appear after moderation (I've decided to enable moderation due to excessive spam).