"A Snicker of Magic"

Newsbee gives a tip of his antennae to the teachers who encouraged their students to write reviews this school year. Now, kiddos, it’s up to you to fill your literary bee buddy’s mailbox with your take on his Picks. You know the drill—so get to Paging On!

“Hi, Koo!: A Book of Seasons,” By Jon J. Muth

Reviewed by Mrs. Burke’s second-grade class, St. John the Baptist School.

“We thought this book might be about Panda Bear teaching the seasons and playing around. The story was really about a bear that wrote haikus about the seasons.

“We did not care for the story because the haikus made the story hard to understand. If we could change anything about the book we would make it have a little more of a story.”

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“Walt Whitman: Words for America,” By Barbara Kerley

Reviewed by Seth Roewe, fourth grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“Walt Whitman was a poet; he lived with his brother and mother. Whitman’s first job was a printer’s apprentice, and then he was writing his own articles. He began to write poems of his own. His dream was to become, ‘The Voice of America.’ Everywhere he went he wrote in his notebook.

“In 1861, tensions between the North and the South had risen, the North wanted to end slavery, something the South would not tolerate. The Civil War began! Walt was too old to fight, but he proudly watched as his bother George marched off to war.

“In the war, Walt Whitman helped people, black, white or on the other team, he would help them. I was sad that all those people died in the war, but I felt a little better after I read that Whitman helped and saved people.

“This book took me in when it said, ‘Whoever you are now I place my hand upon you that you be my poem.’ I like this book and I think kids ages 10 and up should read it, or if you are studying the Civil War this book would be good for you.”

Reviewed by Mrs. Burke’s Second Grade Class, St. John the Baptist School.

“We thought this book would be about someone who shared their ideas with others. We also thought it might be about a cowboy, or maybe about a person who taught others. “

“The book was about a writer. He spent a lot of his time with soldiers trying to make them feel better. He loved words, and he used his words to write poetry about the soldiers of the Civil War.

“We are like Walt Whitman because we like words, and we like to write. We would not change the book because it had lots of history in it. We would recommend this book to people who find history interesting.

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“A Snicker of Magic,” by Natalie Lloyd.

Reviewed by Jamie Kopmann, eighth grade, St. Ignatius School.

“Felicity Juniper Pickle is 12. She has a special collection. She collects words. Not just any word, words she sees; she sees words in everything from on the walls to bouncing out of people’s mouths or off their hair.

“The problem is that Felicity can’t get the words right, especially when she is introducing herself. So you can see why having a mom who never seems to want to stay in one place can be a problem. Every time they move, Felicity has to re-introduce herself and embarrass her and her little sister Frannie Jo.

“Everyone in her new town is obsessed with a story about the Threadbare Brothers. They traveled around the country showing off their magic. The brothers had a famous duel and there was a spell. Felicity and her new friend Jonah search for the rest of the story, which has been hidden for years.

“I like how the author gave each character their own personality. She makes the story come to life with words. This story is unlike any I’ve ever read, but I can still understand how Felicity feels. It is hard to try something over after you’ve always failed at it before.”

Reviewed by Sophie Nieder, Fourth Grade, Campbellton Elementary School.

“This book, a non-fictional biography, takes place before, during, and after the Civil War. Kerley’s purpose of this book is to entertain people with a heartwarming story about Walt’s life and how he lived it.

“Whitman became worried about slavery in America, the country of words he adored. Trying to cause ripples in the river of slavery, Walt wrote poems about how great America is. But these poems did not change people’s minds, and Whitman did not know what to do.

“During the Civil War, Walt visited injured soldiers in hospitals near town and at base camp. Walt would help heal soldiers whether they were black, white, Union or Confederate. Whitman experienced empathy a lot, and it drove him to a determination to help the soldiers.

“I liked the way Kerley described Walt’s feelings during the Civil War. She has a talent for using descriptive words to show how Whitman’s feelings of sadness moved him to help others.

“I think I am a lot like Whitman because I want and try to help others as much as I can. I recommend this book to ages nine and older, but I think that any student studying the Civil War, or is about to, would easily connect to this book.

“This book will touch many lives with quotes like, ‘Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem.’

“I give this book four out of five beehives because I think Kerley hooked me into the book, used amazing details, described emotions and left me thinking that the book is great.”