Tuesday, March 04, 2014
A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd
Felicity Juniper Pickle is a collector of words. Not in the same way that some of us are, she is lucky enough to see words. Words surround certain people and things, and when Felicity sees them, she writes them down in her always present blue notebook. When her little sister Frannie Jo asks for a poem, Felicity can pluck them out of the air and combine them into a soothing rhyme for her.
There are two things that Felicity Pickle cannot do, however. She cannot comfortably speak those words in front of anyone, and she can't stay in one place too long. The first thing she can work on, but the second thing is all because of her Mama.
Her Mama is cursed with a wandering heart. She loads her girls up into her beat-up van and travels around with them. This last jaunt has brought the Pickles home to where Mama grew up: Midnight Gulch. Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, but a few generations ago the magic seemingly up and left town right along with the famous Threadbare brothers.
But for Felicity, Midnight Gulch does turn out to be a magical place. First of all, she acquires her very first friend - Jonah Pickett. And Jonah, it turns out, has a secret and a bit of a magical identity as well. As he takes Felicity under his wing, she sees the things that could be -- the things that she didn't even know she was longing for as Mama shuttled them around "Per-clunkity-clunk, per-clunkity-clunk" across the country.
Natalie Lloyd has created the kind of world that readers want to jump into. This small Tennessee town should exist and feels like it does. Perfectly quirky, the characters are interwoven, layered and kind. Turns of phrase verily melt in your mouth, and beg to be read aloud. This is a heart-song book, if ever there was one.