Sacred Stories & Melted Ice Cream: A Snicker of Magic (2014) by Natalie LloydA Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Published by Scholastic Inc. on February 25th 2014
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade
Pages: 320

Suggested age range: 8 and up

Source: Copy Won from Emily at Oh Magic Hour

“Home isn’t just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you’re brave enough to love people.” (p. 302)

The Book: Felicity Pickle wants a home—but her family, which includes her mother, sister, and dog, Biscuit, has been prone to wander from town to town, until her mother gets the itch to pack up and move again. Settling in Felicity’s mom’s hometown for a bit, Midnight Gulch, means several things: Felicity finally has a best friend, she gets to live with her aunt Cleo, and her mom works in an ice cream factory that makes the town smell like waffle cones come evening time. Felicity has a magical way of seeing words and spinning them into poetry, but she fears public speaking; when her new best friend, Jonah, encourages her to enter the “Duel,” the town talent show, Felicity has to make a choice about whether she is going to face her fears or duck out. Will the town ever get rid of its curse? Will Felicity and her family finally settle down? A snicker of magic might be left in Midnight Gulch, and Felicity pursues that hope with everything she’s got in this delightful middle grade fantasy.

Spirituality in A Snicker of Magic: Where do I begin? This story reflects multiple spiritual dimensions, and certainly engaged my own spirituality as I was reading. Humans are built for relationship and authentic community with others, and this idea is woven throughout the narrative. Even Felicity’s longing for a home and community reflects an aspect of her spirituality—Jonah’s offering of friendship early in the story is almost impossible for Felicity to believe, but there’s a kind of “magic” still alive in Midnight Gulch. The mystery and role of “The Beedle,” for example, is another spiritual dimension of the book, which could certainly be discussed with readers more after the last page is turned. What about believing in people when they have given up on themselves? This is another valuable spiritual aspect of the story and could connect to readers in countless ways.

Exploring this Book with Readers: This book holds great potential for the upper elementary classroom and even beyond the classroom. It’s a pity I’m not teaching at the moment, for I know my 6th graders would have loved this story. The emphasis on playing with words and creating poetry in the narrative means that responses to this book could include the creation of poetry and other word inventing activities. For example, Felicity sees words over people—students could generate words for each other, and with those words, create poems or stories or artwork. The possibilities really are endless with the rich themes the book illuminates—I certainly intend to create some specific language arts curriculum with this book.

The Final Word: If you enjoy books like When You Reach Me, Hope is a Ferris Wheel, and When Audrey Met Alice, you will most likely enjoy A Snicker of Magic. This is a new favorite of mine! I first saw a review of the book on The Midnight Garden, and could tell this was a book for me. When I won a giveaway from my blogging friend, Emily, this was one of the books I picked. What a delightful surprise at such an enchanting and moving story! I had a kind of profound reaction to this book, that showed me even more strongly why spirituality and children’s literature is so fascinating to me. There is still so much I don’t know, but so many beautiful paths of exploration yet to discover.

What Katie Read

10 Comments on Sacred Stories & Melted Ice Cream: A Snicker of Magic (2014) by Natalie Lloyd

  1. Kate, I had heard SO much about this book, plus I loved the title and cover from the first time I saw it. I had it sitting here for a couple of months, having borrowed it from the library, and I think I got about two chapters in. I was really enjoying it 🙂 Then, I got lucky and WON my own copy! 😀 So I returned the other to the library. Now, I’m extremely chemically sensitive (disabled by it) and the won copy arrived but had a very common fragrant smell to it : / It has been near my boiler offgassing for maybe a month now. Once it’s no longer smelly, back into it I hope to go 🙂 Glad you loved it, too!

  2. I read A Snicker of Magic a few weeks ago and loved it! I liked Felicity’s abilities with words (maybe I, too, need sneakers to capture words on!) and that Jonah’s in a wheelchair, but that that’s no more a big deal in the book than his hair color.

  3. This sounds very enchanting. I will definitely put it on our to be read list. Thanks for a great review. The book on your side bar Flights and chimes and mysterious times also looks very interesting, will have to pin that one too. Thanks so much for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop

    • Thanks for stopping by, Julie! I love being a part of the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I will definitely let you know when I finish Flights & Chimes–it’s interesting! 😀

  4. Ok, strange coincidence … I just had a guest blogger review the same book with her son on our site! And of course they both loved it as well. You all have me sold on this book. Must get for my daughter – sounds FABULOUS! Thanks for your great review and for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Please share your thoughts!