The Key to Extraordinary – Mock Newbery 2017

Key to Extraordinary

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post about Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd stating I wasn’t reading another page of the book until I thought ML would both enjoy and get it.  My guesstimate was somewhere between fourth to seventh grade.  Currently, I’m in a conundrum.  ML has matured a lot in the past two years.  She’s ready for Snicker of Magic; but she’s also ready for Natalie Lloyd’s current release The Key to Extraordinary.  We have limited time to read aloud with each other.  I’ve thought long and hard about which book she and I should read together.

Finally, I had an AHA! moment.  It’s more important for she and I to read The Key to Extraordinary together.  One story line throughout the book is grieving the death of a mother.  Something I know about.  Thankfully, I was thirty when my mother passed away; not an elementary school girl.

ML and I talk about Grandma Nell often.  This book provides new ways to share about mom with ML.  Flowers and their meaning play a big part in The Key to Extraordinary.  Flowers were a big part of mom’s life too.  Some of my earliest memories are in mom’s flower garden.  I fondly remember her yellow roses, yellow marigolds, orange day lilies. . .

After my mother passed away, my dad sold my childhood home.  He encouraged me take anything I wanted.  One of the precious items I  have is  the book given to mom for being the Garden Club President.  It’s called Tussie Mussies:  The Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself in the Language of Flowers by Geraldine Adamich Laufer.  After reading The Key to Extraordinary, I’ll share this book with ML. I’m thinking about adding a few blank pages to the book so we can start a family “Book of Days.”  Read the book The Key to Extraordinary and you’ll understand what I’m saying.

Tussie Mussie

After reading The Key to Extraordinary, ML will be eager to read A Snicker of Magic.  I’ve decided it will be the summer book for her bookclub.  Any member who reads the book, can come to the Snicker of Magic Ice-Cream Party.  Of course, ML and I will have a centerpiece with a secret message in the meaning of the flowers.  The girls can crack it using the Tussie Mussies book and the end papers of The Key to Extraordinary.


A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd


I’m giving A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd the highest compliment I can give a chapter book.  I don’t plan to finish reading it anytime soon.  ML saw me reading it the other night.  The cover peaked her curiosity.  Great job Gilbert Ford.  Illustrators of book jackets don’t get the credit they deserve.

Here’s the transcript of our conversation.

ML:  What’s that about?
Me:  Magic.
ML:  Are you going to recommend that book to me when I’m older?
Me:  I don’t know.  I’ve only read the first chapter, but Miss Jenn loved it.
ML:  She did?

(I work with Miss Jenn.  ML thinks she is super cool because she was Mama Bear in the local Christmas Parade.  So any book recommended by Miss Jenn is cool in ML’s eyes.)

I’ve read half the book and I’m stopping.  I want ML and I to experience the magic of this book unfold at the same time.  I’ve read enough to know it’s going to be great.  Sometime between 4th-7th grade we’ll read this book.

Below is the publishers synopsis.

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.