Two years ago I read aloud A Snicker of Magic (Natalie Lloyd) to my children and we all loved it immensely. Who could resist Felicity and her love of words? Midnight Gulch, with its magic and ice cream, was a town you just wanted to visit. I was interested to see future books by Ms. Lloyd. Several weeks ago I was scanning the library shelves for a few good books to take home and the spine of a book caught my eye. Something about the colors and the style pulled at my memories.
Ah, Natalie Lloyd had written a new book and somehow I had missed this news! The Key to Extraordinary was released in February of this year. I was surprised to find it tucked snugly between other books instead of on display with fellow new publications. My plan was to read it aloud but we were deep in the middle of a couple other read alouds so the timing was off. Naturally I did what any book lover would do and read it for myself. And I must say that is was a delightful read.
Emma lives with her Granny Blue (who drives a motorcycle) and helps run the Boneyard Cafe. (An appropriate name when you are next to a cemetery). If you stop by the Cafe on Saturday, Emma will take you on a guided tour of the cemetery. The tour ends with a delicious cookie courtesy of the Cafe.
While Emma is a spunky, adventurous, quirky girl who is growing concerned that she will never have her Destiny Dream. A couple of years before, Emma’s mother passed away leaving Emma with a family legacy. Emma was a Wildflower like so many before her. This means that Emma will have a Destiny Dream and that dream will reveal to Emma her destiny, her gift, her purpose. Emma longs for the dream to come so she doesn’t fail her mother and the other Wildflowers.
And how will Granny Blue and Emma save the Boneyard Cafe? Times are hard and Granny Blue is struggling to keep the Cafe open for business. This is Emma’s home, full of memories of her mom, she can’t bear the thought of it being gone.
As with A Snicker of Magic, Lloyd once again brings us engaging, delightful, fun characters along with beautiful words and witty humor that will have you laughing and smiling as you read. I will confess that I even teared up once or twice. This is a story of family and friendship. About realizing that it is the small, ordinary moments in life that are important and life changing. And your destiny? Well, you’ll have to wait and read.
There is a theme of magic woven through out this story. Emma is convinced there is a ghost that visits the Boneyard Cafe but she can never catch him. It usually ends up being her brother making the magical, special hot chocolate; Granny Blue’s secret brew. There are magical plants that can carry messages through the years. The magic is really love and friendship and memories living and moving around us.
After I finished, Extraordinary worked its way through the female readers in our home. My 10 and 12 year old daughters loved it. My ten year old daughter loves to read but is extremely selective about what engages her. She said that she loved The Key to Extraordinary more than A Snicker of Magic because this one has more adventure. She also observed a fact that I missed. A character from A Snicker of Magic pops up in The Key to Extraordinary. I totally missed it!
Even my teen girls read and enjoyed The Key to Extraordinary. No matter your age who can resist a wonderfully told story of friendship, destiny, and hot chocolate? I think you should read it and let me know what you think.