Saturday, April 2, 2011

All About the Rainbow Magic Series

The Rainbow Magic books by Daisy Meadows are a popular series of chapter books about fairies. Parents have been asking me about them in the library recently, so I thought I'd read a few random titles to get a better sense of what they're about.

The books I chose were Thea the Thursday FairyChloe the Topaz FairyDanielle the Daisy Fairy, and Poppy the Piano Fairy. After reading all four titles, here's what I learned:

  • The Rainbow Magic series actually consists of many smaller series, each focusing on a different type of fairies. Thea the Thursday Fairy is the fourth volume in the Fun Day Fairies series; Chloe the Topaz Fairy is volume 4 in the Jewel Fairies series; Danielle the Daisy Fairy is volume 6 in the Petal Fairies series; and Poppy the Piano Fairy is volume 1 in the Music Fairies series. The other series are Pet Fairies, Rainbow Fairies, Weather Fairies, Sports Fairies, Dance Fairies, Magical Animal Fairies, Ocean Fairies, Twilight Fairies, Showtime Fairies, and Princess Fairies. There is also a collection of books about Special Fairies for holidays like Christmas, and events like sleepovers. Some of the series are currently only available in the UK, but most are available in the US as well.
  • Daisy Meadows is obviously a pseudonym, but not just for one person. There are five authors who write the Rainbow Magic books: Narinder Dhami, Sue Bentley, Linda Chapman, Marilyn Kaye and Sue Mongredien. The author of a particular volume is always thanked in the dedication at the start of the book.
  • The books are illustrated by a British woman named Georgie Ripper. According to, she has also illustrated two picture books of her own - The Little Brown Bushrat and My Best Friend Bob, as well as A Dog Called Whatnot written by Linda Newbery .
  • The books follow a very specific formula, so if you've read one, you have a general idea of what will happen in all the others. In volume 1 of a particular series, Kirsty and Rachel, the human main characters of all of the series, are informed of a crisis in Fairyland. They travel to Fairyland to investigate, and learn that Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen something of value from the fairies (jewels, flower petals, musical instruments, etc.) The girls spend the second half of book one recovering the first of 7 items. In the other 6 volumes of that series,  they continue finding the magical items while doing ordinary, everyday things such as picnicking with their parents, buying a Halloween costume, or visiting the aquarium.
  • The books don't have to be read in order. Each volume in each series recaps the events of the books preceding it so the reader always knows where she is in the action, what Kirsty and Rachel are searching for, and why. The story isn't complete, however, at the end of just one volume. The resolution of the various plots only comes from reading an entire set of 7. Books in the middle of each series don't really come to satisfying endings.
  • There is no backstory on why Kirsty and Rachel have been chosen as the fairies' friends. That drove me nuts, but it's just kind of an accepted fact among the fairies and the girls.
  • There is something for every girl in this series. The fairies are diverse in terms of looks, style of dress, and interests, and while the formula felt very forced and obvious to me, the many, many circumstances in which Kirsty and Rachel find themselves are bound to appeal to girls who wish for a little fairy magic in their own lives.
I really think only a child can appreciate books like these. I sped through them with the sole intention of getting through the book quickly so I could move onto something else, but I know many 6- and 7-year-old girls who read with urgency, dying to know how this adventure will end, and anxious to find whichever book comes next. These books are not great literature by any stretch of the imagination, but these authors - and Scholastic - definitely know how to give kids what they want.

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