Monday, March 31, 2014

MMGM: Two Books with Magic

The last two middle grade books I have read just happen to have magic weaved into the story. I picked up The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop at the library, drawn in by its fun cover. A Snicker of Magic I just had to snatch up for a $3 steal through my daughter's Scholastic Book Order.

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders

Book Description (from Amazon):

Welcome to the most magical house in London. 

The family of eleven-year-old twins Oz and Lily have inherited it, together with the mysterious shop downstairs. Long ago, the shop's famous chocolate-makers, who also happen to be Oz and Lily's great uncles, were clever sorcerers. Now evil villains are hunting for the secret of their greatest recipe. The terrifying powers of this magic chocolate have the ability to destroy the world.  

Soon, Oz and Lily are swept into a thrilling battle, helped by an invisible cat, a talking rat, and the ghost of an elephant. It's up to them to stop the villains and keep the magical chocolate recipe out of harm's way. Their family and the world depends on it.

Why it is Marvelous: I enjoyed how the characters weaved together in this book, pulling from the past and tying in with the present. I enjoyed how certain relationships strengthened throughout the book, especially those you weren't expecting to, and then provided a path to clean up the all the conflict. It is a fun adventure for kids in the intended age group and I'm sure they will love how the parents are always blissfully (magically) unaware of all the adventures that are actually taking place. The fact that an immortal cat and rat are top agents in a secret government spy unit was a little far-fetched for my tastes but just fine I'm sure for elementary readers.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Book Description (from Amazon): 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.

Why it is Marvelous: I really enjoyed this book. The writing is wonderful, the way she uses words as a main part of the story as well as how she uses her own words to tell the story. Some of the fun words are "spindiddly" and "splendiferous" and "factofabulous." And here is an excerpt to show her stylish writing:

     "I never wanted to forget all the ways we were connected that day: By our shadows and sunlight. By pounding hearts and a starry maybe.
     By the nearly silent flutter of our broken wings."

Each character in this book is unique and interesting, with his or her own voice shown through actions and dialog and strengthened by the words Felicity sees floating around each person. The story of the town and how each character is connected to it draws the reader through the book from start to finish. I was racing to get to the finish line but a little sad when it ended - a sign that the author did a wonderful job! 

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM) was created by Shannon Messenger. To find other bloggers participating in MMGM go to her blog for a list of links.