The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Daisy Meadows is a pen name for a consortium of authors who produce the endless series of "Rainbow Magic" sets of fairy books. All the books bear the rainbow logo. Slightly confusingly, the first set of seven books was about the Rainbow Fairies.
As for now, the franchise covers more than 80 books in sets, each comprising seven books, plus several one-off specials (usually connected with holidays or Christmas. Everything below applies to all the books in all the sets in the whole series, although obviously some books are marginally better or worse than others.
Altogether, it's an admirable entertainment franchise - and a provider of rather vacuous reading material to beginner female readers. There are worse things (don't get me started on the Tiara Club), but there is also many immeasurably better books.
_There is this Jack Frost. He's a baddie. And there are all these nasty goblins. And the goodies are fairies, Rachel and Kirsty and queen Titania and king Oberon. Jack Frost tries to get the fairies and Kirsty and Rachel help them. They have to help them because fairies are so tiny.
It's a very interesting book. It's got fairies in it which is girly. There is lots of fairies for different things. They have nice names. And there are happy endings.
There are sets and there is a whole big story in each. The sets join up together. _
So now you know it all. I am not that far from joking, actually. The above account of Katie, aged 5, pretty much sums up the essence of the Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows.
There are, indeed, Rachel and Kirsty, a couple of girls aged about 8-9 who get to have magical adventures in which indeed they help fairies harassed by Jack Frost and those nasty goblins of his.
The books come in sets, each one with seven sub-stories. There is a Rainbow Fairies series, the Weather Fairies, Party Fairies, Pet Keeper Fairies, Jewel Fairies; Magical Animal Fairies, Music Fairies, Jewel Fairies, Petal Fairies... we will probably see Fruit and Vegetable Fairies soon.
In the Rainbow Fairies set (the first set of the whole franchise), Jack Frost captures seven rainbow fairies so all colour disappears from Fairyland.
There is one fairy with a set of attributes (a distinctive outfit, nice name, particular kind of sparkle coming out of her wand and an area of expertise) that Rachel and Kirsty get to rescue in each book of the set.
This formula is unfailingly repeated in each book of each set.
My five year old loved the Rainbow Magic fairy books. They were, indeed, perfect for her: the human characters are girls just a little bit older and thus bit more capable and independent but similar to her, the fairies are indeed girly and pander to the obsession with all things glittery, fluttery and pretty fuelled by Disney Princesses and Barbie's Fairytopia and Mermaidia. There is magic which gets to our world from the Fairyland, there is plenty of gentle adventure and happy endings. The baddies are just a tiny bit scary but not too much - nothing to give nightmares: magically grown goblins are still smaller then the girls and Jack Frost, though a bit of a dark figure, rarely makes a personal appearance. The adventure, thus, though undoubtedly exciting is also curiously bland. But my five year old didn't seem to mind.
The human characters are as shallow and character-less as possible: apart from looks there is no difference between the two girls. The adult world is represented by sketchy figures of completely benign and very boring parents. The fairies have a bit more character with some noticeable temperamental differences.
All the positive characters are female and all the baddies are male which matches the developmental stage to which the books appeal but it's rather annoying: I think there is enough of gender separation driven by constructing marketing niches in the modern children's culture.
The adventures and the magical settings are reasonably well conceived though: it's quite an achievement to produce this number of books and actually maintain any distinction between the stories (and the fairies themselves; though the external attributes help here). The scenery and settings are very perfunctorily but efficiently drawn and use an array of motifs pilfered from traditional fairy stories and more lofty literary works (the King's and Queen's names are a bit of a sacrilege - or a big wink?); which makes it easier for an adult to endure the reading.
There is no moral conflict, no dilemmas, nothing, but nothing to think about. It's all pure action: in a gentle, girly, sparkly setting but pure action nevertheless.
What the whole series reminds me most of a vast computer game, with each set a level and each book a room.
Writing style is rather simple (and this is not a compliment here), if not to say infantile: the story could have been written by a competent 11 year old. Sparkles whoosh and the girls gasp with alarming frequency, though it all holds together reasonably well while the description is helped along by many line drawings present in the books.
The girls are reasonable female role models: despite the fluffiness of the fairy theme, they girls are quite sensible, but also adventurous, independent and brave. They are, indeed, very sketchy but fairly accurate depiction of fairly typical British middle-class 8 to 9 year olds, and thus aspirational to the (younger) target readership.
The books are suitable for girls aged 4 to the maximum of about 8, but the top age would depend on the child. I would be a bit concerned if a normal 11 year old showed marked interest in the Rainbow Magic series, though.
Is it recommended? A hard question, really.
For non-readers there is certainly many more better books out there and there is nothing about the Meadows offering that makes it particularly worthwhile. On the other hand they are harmless enough and young girls are likely to be delighted and entertained.
There is a distinctive risk that if you get one or two of these you will have to get (and read aloud) the whole lot; and that might be too much for an adult reader-aloud to cope with.
On the other hand refusal to read from and adult might prompt a beginner reader to make big efforts herself - my daughter's motivation has increased as she felt that "she will be able to read all the chapters in one go when she feels like it" .
For children who already are beginning to read and particularly for reluctant and struggling readers it might be a good one as it's full of action, easy on vocab, appeals to kids' manias for collecting, panders to the love of all things girly and is set in large, encouraging type, supported by drawings.
Share this review on
Rate this review »
How helpful would this review be to a person making a buying decision? Rating guidelines
Florence the Friendship Fairy has a very important job - she makes sure that friendships ... more
in Fairyland and the human world are looked after! But mean Jack Frost is jealous of everyone who has friends, as he's too grumpy to have any of his own. He steals Florence's three magical items (a memory book, a ribbon and a friendship bracelet) and hides them. Can Rachel and Kirsty find these items before their own friendship is threatened...?
The Petal Fairies have a very important job - together with their magic petals they help ... more
to make sure that flowers grow and bloom in the human world. But after Jack Frost sent his goblins to steal the magic petals in the hope they would help to grow flowers in his cold and dreary ice castle, the petals have ended up scattered in the human world. Rachel and Kirsty must help the fairies to find their magic petals before the goblins get their hands on them. Eye-catching foiled covers and wonderful illustrations.