Today I have a great Creative Kid to tell you about! Samantha is the 13-year-old, 7th-grade blogger at The Young Writer’s Cafe blog (click HERE). Be sure to hop over to Samantha’s site and check it out.She reviews books and blogs about writing.
Now on to her guest review!
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
320 pages, ages 8+
Published by Scholastic Press on February 25th 2014
Felicity Juniper Pickle is used to her mother’s nomadic lifestyle. They live somewhere for a few days, weeks at best, and then move on. But when Felicity, her mother and her younger sister roll into Midnight Gulch, Felicity knows that there is something different about her mother’s peculiar hometown. That’s no surprise. Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place. The inhabitants were able to summon winds; or turn invisible; or make marvelous ice cream. Not that the ice cream isn’t still remarkable, but ever since the troublesome Brothers Threadbare duelled and ran off a century ago, everyone believes that there is no more magic in Midnight Gulch.
They are wrong. Felicity knows it. The magic is still lurking in Midnight Gulch and Felicity is going to bring it back. Maybe then her mother will stop wandering and her family will be able to settle down. But her only assets are the help of the eccentric townspeople, namely a mysterious do-gooder named the Beedle. Plus, Felicity has the ability to see words (usually emotions or thoughts) floating around people, a talent she has deemed mostly useless. Will the goodness of the Beedle and the cleverness of the townsfolk be enough to bring the magic back to Midnight Gulch? Or will Felicity need to find the power in her words and create her own kind of magic?
When I read the blurb of this book, I got really excited. A girl who collects words? A cursed town? Enchantments? Oh…yes, please! I was not disappointed. Natalie Lloyd’s debut novel is magical in more ways than one.
I once read an article about how an interesting novel setting is just as important as gripping characters. I agree with this. A novel may have the most well-developed characters ever, but if the setting is described in a cliché manner or worse, is unbelievable, my liking of a book drops. Fortunately, Midnight Gulch is the sort of splendiferous town that anyone would love to visit. Ms. Lloyd put much care into describing her fictional town and it shows; I could vividly imagine strolling through Midnight Gulch alongside Felicity.
I enjoy most of the books that I read but I rarely find a middle grade novel that is inspiring but doesn’t have a main character that survived depression or cancer or something otherwise scarring. A Snicker of Magic is one of those novels that make you realize that it’s the little things in life that count, that sometimes a love-filled moment or quiet good deed is worth more than you realize. Felicity’s new best friend Jonah is a secret do-gooder. Anonymously, he gifts flowers to the ill, shovels driveways when no one is looking and drops off money to those in need.
I know that disabled children are underrepresented in childrens’ books and I love finding an interesting book with a disabled main, or in this case, supporting character. Jonah uses an electric wheelchair to move around. I appreciated that Natalie Lloyd showed that even though Midnight Gulch is an enchanted town, its occupants are all shapes and sizes with different abilities and limitations.
Overall? I really, really loved this book. It is a rare day that I find a book I want to analyse, bit by bit, just to see how the author managed to pull it off so well. A Snicker of Magic is that novel. I found that this book was very similar to the novelSavvy by Ingrid Law because of the protagonist’s southern voice, magical abilities and that the two middle grade novels share many of the same themes.
Thanks Samantha! Be sure to stop by The Young Writer’s Cafe blog (click HERE), everyone, and come back here tomorrow for Perfect Picture Book Friday!