A Snicker of Magic by Natalie LloydA Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. Read by Cassandra Morris. 8 hrs. Scholastic Audio, 2013.

Felicity Pickle’s mother has a wandering heart. A wandering heart that is making Felicity miserable. Every year, when her mom gets the itch to keep moving, they wander to a new town and she has to make friends all over again. She has no real place to come home to. When Felicity, her momma, and her little sister end up in Midnight Gulch, where her momma grew up, Felicity knows she has to do something to keep her mother in one place. Felicity loves Midnight Gulch and its deep history of magic. Her family’s story of wandering seems linked to the famous curse of the Stoneberry brothers. With the help of Jonah, the do-gooder “Beetle,” they try to find the magical mix that will break the curse and help the whole town be at peace again. But the whole town believes that the magic has fled the town with the musical, magical brothers and they are all doomed to live out its repercussions.

This is truly a charming book steeped in Deep South traditions, way of speech, and characters full of kind gossip and special magical powers. It is a folksy and warm story of a town and how everyone is tied together. A Snicker of Magic is fantasy that feels like realistic fiction, best compared to the look and feel of the movie Big Fish. The characters are all well-developed with their own magical backstory and they use words like spindidily, plum-(adjective), hey-o, hush up, do-gooder, all said with a southern accent from an award-winning narrator.

It’s a silly magic the town has, with magic ice cream where each flavor does something like makes your memories come back, invisible people, sentimental storms, a musical curse, a famous duel, The Beetle mysteriously doing anonymous good deeds around town, and wandering hearts that can’t stay in one place too long.

Felicity wants a place to call home and is afraid her mother is going to pick up and leave her at any moment to continue wandering the country. She signs up to compete in her school’s duel even though she has a huge fear of public speaking just so her mother might let them stay in town longer. Felicity sees words like magic. They appear in the air above people’s heads in different shapes and colors, and sometimes Felicity learns things about people from them. It almost feels like a real ability. She stores her favorite words she’s collected in a blue composition notebook and finally decides to try and write something with them.

Read-alikes: Savvy by Ingrid Law, Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick, Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve, A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff.