Spoiler Alert! All the Rainbow Magic Fairy Books (there are over 150 of them!) by “Daisy Meadows” more or less follow a set formula, which I am now about to shamelessly reveal (although it is predictable enough you may well have figured it out already, with or without having seen the books.) You have been warned!
The Rainbow Magic books follow the adventures of two friends, Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker, aged about 12 (old enough that they are often with their parents, but also allowed to do some things on their own.) The two girls meet while on vacation, and become best friends, spending every possible school break visiting each other at one home or the other. In the summer both families vacation together.
The girls share many adventures, and a tremendous secret. They can see and talk to fairies! And although they must always “let the magic come to them,” come it most certainly does!
Most of the books are in seven volume series (The Rainbow Fairies, The Jewel Ferries, The Sports Ferries, The Weather Fairies, The Pet Keeper Fairies, the Dance Fairies, The… well, you get the idea!) in which each day the girls meet and help a new fairy from the group overcome the trouble being created by evil Jack Frost and his wickedly inclined but utterly bumbling batch of goblin minions. Some adventures are set in fairy land… the girls have been given the ability to transform to fairies when needed, but at other times Jack Frost’s evil magic plays out in the human world, often with comic consequences.
Each book begins with a poem by Jack Frost, as dire in its threats as it is painful in its rhymes and scans. An entire component of fairy magic comes under siege, and the girls and fairies must work together to prevent utter disaster. I know this will come as a shock, but with quick thinking, the creative use of magic, and assisted by the frequent gaffes of the goblins, they always succeed!
We first encountered the series when my oldest two would have been about 3 and 5 years old. Someone plopped “Joy the Summer Vacation Fairy” into our library basket when I wasn’t looking, and home it came. I cringed the second I saw that the “author” was named Daisy Meadows, sure we were in for a taste of “McLit” of the worst sort.
I was right. And very wrong. To my surprise the book was absolute magic, and the series went on to become a tremendously fun and important part of our family reading history. I think this was because, at the time, the kids had a very low tolerance for suspense compared to others their age, to the point I was beginning to get concerned. I figured it was only a matter of time before they encountered something utterly traumatizing, like a Disney movie, at a friend’s house.
The fairy books became the perfect cure for this.
My kids were complete suckers for the drama, found Jack Frost sincerely but (mostly) manageably frightening, and were saved from complete tension overload by the comedic ineptitude and stupidity of the goblins. They would be wriggling in suspense, literally clinging to my arm in concern one minute, laughing uproariously the next. And with a seemingly endless supply of these books we could complete the process over and over and over, until they had finally repeated the pattern often enough to trust that a happy resolution really was coming. (I am proud to say all have gone on to more suspenseful things without the services of a child psychologist being required. Rainbow Magic Fairy books, cheaper than therapy!)
If you do decide to “let the magic come to you” I would suggest trying some of the earlier books in the series. It seems to me they had a bit more substance than the later books we read. (Keeping in mind “substance” is a strictly relative term in this case.)
Reviewed by Susan Jean
(Review copies borrowed from the library).