School Library Journal
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
The New York Times Book Review - Elisabeth Egan
…whimsical and bewitching…Thankfully, this is not one of those books where all roads lead to one triumphant and redemptive moment. Lloyd's story takes many unexpected twists and turns…A Snicker of Magic covers wholesome, warm-fuzzy territory in a quirky, cheerful way. It should be read aloud for maximum enjoyment, with a pen handy to jot down new words…Young spelling enthusiasts, Scrabble lovers, Boggle big leaguers and word people of the worldhang on for the ride! Felicity Pickle will take you places, and that, fellow logophiles, is spindiddly, indeed.
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.)
From the Publisher
* "This tale offers all [the] earmarks of fine storytelling, including colorful, eccentric characters, an original, highly likable narrator and a mighty 'spindiddly' plot." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
• "From every angle, Lloyd's first novel sparkles and radiates warmth . . . 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." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
• "A delightful and inspiring debut . . . Mibs Beaumont and her magically gifted clan from Ingrid Law's SAVVY would feel right at home here. As Felicity loves to say, 'Yes…yes…yes.'" -- School Library Journal, starred review
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Eleven-year-old Felicity Pickle sees words in the air. Some are sparkly and exciting; others are sad. She collects them in a notebook that she would like to share with others, but when she tries, her voice simply does not work. Felicity, her artist mom, and her little sister move around frequently in the family’s van, which they call the Pickled Jalapeno. As Felicity prepares to enter yet another new school, the words she sees are lonely and hurtful, but she cannot help but hope this time will be different. They have arrived in Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a small town where they will live with Aunt Cleo. According to legend, the town was once magical, but the magic left with the Threadbare Brothers after their musical duel. Soon, Felicity makes a new friend Jonah and together they decide to restore the magic. Against her better judgment, Felicity enters a talent contest where she will attempt to share her words with the community; she hopes this will cause her mother to settle down. But time is running out, and her mother is packing, ready to move on. However, Felicity continues to be hopeful that they have finally found a home. Readers of all ages will enjoy this delightful story about the power of words, music, and love. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson; Ages 8 to 12.
The protagonist of this debut joins a growing list of endearing young girls from the South, and it's an extra bonus that her new best friend and mentor is a boy whose method of transportation, without fanfare, just happens to be a wheelchair. Felicity Juniper Pickle, her little sister, Frannie Jo, and their dog, Biscuit, have once again been moved by their mother to a new town. This time they are moving in with Mama's sister in Mama's old hometown, Midnight Gulch, Tenn., which used to be renowned for its magic--the kind where people could "sing up thunderstorms and…dance up sunflowers." Felicity, who has an uncanny ability for seeing and using written words but suffers from stage fright, wants to stay in Midnight Gulch. Her new friend, Jonah, with whom she performs anonymous acts of kindness, persuades Felicity to enter the Duel--a talent show in which her "weapon" will be her words. As the Duel approaches, Felicity and Jonah find themselves caught up in figuring out how to return the town's magic and to reverse a curse from Felicity's "balloon-riding, globe-trotting, curse-bearing great-great-grandfather" (surely homage to Holes). Although pacing is sometimes difficult, this tale offers all the other earmarks of fine storytelling, including colorful, eccentric characters, an original, highly likable narrator and a mighty "spindiddly" plot. (Fantasy. 8-13)