Thursday, September 25, 2014

A snicker of magic by Natalie Lloyd

"A snicker?"
"That's magic leftover," Jonah explained.  
"Not good for much, not as fancy as it used to be - but enough to make it special."

There are some books, the best books really, that are so beautifully told that you just feel as though you are really there - in that town or school or home.  I have just spent three days in Midnight Gulch, Tennessee with my new friends Felicity Juniper Pickle, her best friend Jonah Pickett, her wise little sister Frannie Jo and all the other wonderful people of this magic town who are connected in ways you just need to discover.  I have also fallen in love with the idea of collecting words.  Felicity sees words hovering over people - real words and invented words but always true words.  This is such a terrific idea and by the end of A snicker of magic I wanted to collect all these words and put them in a jar for myself. This is a bit like the idea behind Donavan's word jar and the magic reminded me of A Tangle of Knots and Savvy.  The other lovely ingredient in this book comes from the town ice cream factory. You will want to eat huge spoonfulls of :

  • Andy's snickerdoodle sucker punch
  • Day's chocolate orange switcheroo
  • Marsh-Mallory Mocha Delight
  • Jim's just-vanilla's-all-I- want

But be very careful before you dip into Blackberry Sunrise.  "People buy it by the gallon because it helps them remember.  The problem is that you don't know what kindof memory this ice cream's going to dredge up.... if the blackberries taste sweet, you remember something good. But if you take a bite and the blackberry are sour, well ... "

A gulch is a narrow valley with deep sides.  This makes it perfect for a small community and perhaps for a place where you can feel safe and at home. Midnight Gluch is a town with a long history and with citizens famous for many different types of magic.  Sadly years ago magic seems to have left the town when two famous brothers, Stone and Berry Weatherly, known as the Brothers Threadbare held their famous duel in 1910.  When Stone lost the duel, after three days of frantic music, magic left the town and worse a curse descended.  It is now nearly a century later and Felicity feels she is cursed. Her mum is a wanderer.  The little family of three never stay long in any one town but as our story begins they arrive back in Midnight Gulch - the town of her childhood.

Here are some words from this book :
apple fritter

Read this splendid review in the New York Times.  This reviewer loved A snicker of Magic so much she is predicting it will reach the Newbery for 2015.  "Every so often a book comes along where you say to yourself, “I feel privileged to know that I live in a world where books like this exist.” They are books that are forever imprinted upon your heart, a heartprint book if you will."

Apart from the books I mentioned above after you read A snicker of Magic you should look for Waiting for Normal and Pie.   Here is a blog site for the author who actually has a dog called Biscuit. Activities for this book from Scholastic.  Below I have included covers from the Italian and German editions of this book. You can listen to part of the story here. I do hope I have convinced you to read this magical book - I promise you will not be disappointed.

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