Sometimes it takes a mighty push to get back on track. Thank you author Natalie Lloyd for the exact kind of push I needed. Before the end of the first chapter of A Snicker of Magic I was itchin’ to share the magic with y’all. I’m only on Chapter Four right now and I couldn’t wait a solitary second longer.
In three short chapters I’ve been inspired by some of the strongest Mentor Text fodder I’ve read in an age and a half.
If ever a gaggle of students is looking for a way to dive into a story, check this out for a lead…
“They say all the magic is gone up out of this place,” said Mama.
She looked straight ahead as she drove, past the white beam of our headlights, deep into the night, like she could see exactly what was up ahead of us. I couldn’t see anything, though: not a house, not a store, not even an old barking dog. A big fat moon, pale white and lonesome-looking, was our only streetlight.” (Chapter 1, A Snicker of Magic)
The entire first chapter is chock full of jumping-off points for leads.
Just as fun, or maybe even more, is the way Lloyd plays with words. Here are a few just to tickle your fancy:
“The Pickled Jalapeno made a per-clunkity-clunk, per-clunkity-clunk noise as it disappeared down the foggy road.” (Chapter 2)
“I walked on down the hall, concentrating on my squish-popping shoes.” (Chapter 2)
“The bell bing-a-linged through the speakers, and kids ran down the hall so fast you’d think the school was on fire.” (Chapter 3)
Sometimes it’s a challenge to find good examples of foreshadowing when you need it. Four of the first four chapters hold strong examples. Here are a couple:
End of Chapter 1
“There was still magic in Midnight Gulch.
This is how I turned it loose….”
End of Chapter 2
I didn’t know that the Beedle was watching me even then. I would find out soon enough, though. In Midnight Gulch, the Beedle was always watching.”
We can tell our kidlets to “show not tell” a gabillion ways to Sunday, but until they read it and write it themselves, they will only nod and smile blithely at our words. Try these on for size…
“…I could feel the something good even then: the YES in my heart, the swirling-around in my belly, the prickly tingling all way from the freckle on my finger to the tip of my pinky toe.” (Chapter 1)
The letters were made of melted sunshine. They dripped down the window class, warm and tingly against our faces. Believe is a powerful work to see and to say. But that morning, I felt it. And feeling it was the best of all.” (Chapter 2)
“Some words have a taste and lonely is one of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating apples or chicken fingers or peanut butter cookies–once you see lonely, everything tastes like sand.” (Chapter 3)
Valuable Life Lessons
Barely three chapters in and I’m nodding emphatically at the life lessons shared by Felicity Juniper Pickle (love that name!)…
“Maybe people can’t grow roots the same as trees do, but we both needed a place to dig in and grow some good memories.” (Chapter 2)
“And I think if you’re lucky, a sister is the same as a friend, but better. A sister is like a super-for-ever-infinity friend.” (Chapter 2)
“My heart’s a lot like Frannie Jo’s blue suitcase: I can’t seem to help packing up all the bad memories and taking them with no matter where I go.” (Chapter 3)
So a huge shout of thanks to Natalie Lloyd for an inspiration so powerful, I couldn’t wait another chapter to share it.