Updated on February 6, 2015
When I invited my good friend for tea a few weeks ago, I expected her to come with a few titles for me to seek out. I didn’t expect her to bring me any physical books. To my delight, she came toting three stories in her grad student/nanny backpack!
I tried to pace myself–really, I did–but two weeks hadn’t passed before I finished all three. Now the time has come to write about them. In this, I will gladly take my time, as each book demands its own post.
A Snicker of Magic (by Natalie Lloyd) follows Felicity Pickle, the word-collecting daughter of a woman whose wanderlust has finally led her home. Home–to Midnight Gulch, where folktales live on, even though the magic has all-but died out. Felicity finds herself compelled to seek the truth behind the tale of the Brothers Threadbare. She makes some good friends, including Jonah Pickett (alias “the Beedle”); eats some magical, memory-reviving ice cream; learns the reason for her mother’s nomadic preferences, and sees reconciliation in its many forms.
Vague enough for you? Good. Go read it. You’ll understand better that way.
I love the Jonah/Felicity relationship. They’re drawn together by a lot of factors, none of them romantic. Jonah is a do-gooder, and he wants to help Felicity. Felicity is new to town and just wants to root. She describes their relationship like this:
Jonah Pickett was like snow days, field trips, candy stores, and Christmas Eve all blended into one big swoosh of a feeling. (139)
If you don’t think that is among the highest compliments a child can pay, then I recommend that you spend a summer as a camp counselor. If any of my nephews characterized me as just one of those things, I would happy cry for days. Sporadically, of course.
But she doesn’t leave it at that. Later, Felicity says this:
That day Jonah became more than just a friend who kept my words safe. I realized he was the kind of friend who didn’t mind the silent places. The quiet fell between us like a comfortable old quilt and we both settled into it. (210)
Now, if I learned anything in college, it’s that silence is vital to sanity–and that the closest friends you’ll ever have are the ones who can be comfortably silent with you. I could (and probably will, eventually) write an entire post–maybe even a book–about the woman who taught me that, and the friend who showed me. It’s not a thing that I ever imagined children discovering, or even stumbling upon. If I’m honest, I envy Felicity and Jonah.
Really, though: This is such a sweet story, set in the real world with glimmers of the magic that draws us to fairytales. And magic ice cream that revives memories and stays cold for twenty-four hours without being in the freezer. You know.
Oh, and, as for “spindiddly”–that’s Felicity’s word for something wonderful.