A snicker of magic

Natalie Lloyd

Book - 2014

The Pickles are new to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic--but Felicity is convinced the magic is still there, and with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle she hopes to bring the magic back.

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jFICTION/Lloyd, Natalie
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Subjects
Published
New York : Scholastic Press 2014.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
311 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780545552707
0545552702
Main Author
Natalie Lloyd (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Felicity arrives in Midnight Gulch and learns from her mama that there used to be magic there. Magic is a bonus for Felicity, who longs to stay in one place so she can make a friend. She finds one in wheelchair-bound Jonah, and he fills in Felicity on the town's magical history and its people. And, as it turns out, Felicity is capable of magic herself—word collecting. She sees words everywhere—on people, in her glass of milk, and in the trees. The word "treasures" that she finds are the real winner for this novel. (The words are not part of the sentence structure, but they add to the story by revealing the moods of people she sees, or are used as onomatopoeia.) The unusual language, showing a tinge of Tennessee mountain dialect, spins a web around the story that touches on helping others, budding friendships, and strength of family. First-time novelist Lloyd has produced a "spindiddly" product that will hearten word and poetry lovers and encourage those who have almost lost hope for a happy ending. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

From every angle, Lloyd's first novel sparkles and radiates warmth. Felicity Juniper Pickle, 12, feels an immediate kinship with the town of Midnight Gulch, Tenn., the latest place her itinerant mother has brought Felicity, her almost-six-year-old sister, Frannie Jo, and their dog Biscuit. The remote mountain town has a history interwoven with secret magic, but most of it seems to have evaporated years ago following a dual between a pair of famous magician brothers, which divided a family and resulted in a curse. Felicity's immediate concerns lay with her mother's sadness and her insistence on constantly uprooting the family. With the help of Felicity's new friend Jonah, who has his own secret magic that he works on Midnight Gulch; the stories that Felicity collects from various townspeople; and Felicity's ability to see words that reflect people's hidden thoughts and desires) she tries to save both the town and her own family. Working in the folksy vein of Ingrid Law's Savvy, Lloyd offers a reassuring, homespun story about self-expression and the magic that resides in one's mind and heart. Ages 8–12. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—A delightful and inspiring debut. Mama has a wandering heart, which means that 12-year-old Felicity Pickle and her little sister, Frannie Jo, have wandered along with her in their battered van. But Midnight Gulch feels like home, and not just because it's where Mama grew up. It's one of those quirky little towns where there just might be magic. It's the characters that make this story shine: gruff Aunt Cleo and her tongue-tied swain; Oliver and Ponder, purveyors of unusual ice cream and baked goods, respectively; Jewell Pickett, hair-stylist and auto-mechanic extraordinaire; and her son Jonah, who has the amazing ability to make things better for anybody, despite his own difficulties. And Felicity, who sees words everywhere and uses them in remarkable ways. She's a girl who loves deeply and openly, and who creates her own kind of magic. Added to these elements are a series of folkloric backstories about feuding brothers, doomed romances, mysterious do-gooders, lost children, and a curse. Mibs Beaumont and her magically gifted clan from Ingrid Law's Savvy (Dial, 2008) would feel right at home here. As Felicity loves to say, "Yes…yes…yes!"—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library [Page 84]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The Pickles are new to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic--but Felicity is convinced the magic is still there, and with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle she hopes to bring the magic back.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Arriving in a town where magic has been driven away by a curse, 12-year-old Felicity, a girl who possesses a supernatural ability to see words around the people and places she visits, befriends mysterious do-gooder Jonah, who introduces shimmering new words while helping her break the curse. A first novel.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Introducing an extraordinary new voice---a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing.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.