The Rainbow Magic Treasury by Daisy Meadows

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The Rainbow Magic Treasury by Daisy Meadows

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: An endless series of fantasy adventure books for girls aged 4+, the Rainbow Magic series lacks character development or any deeper message but provides plenty of action in a sparkly, glittery, girly setting. The baddies are not too scary and the endings are happy, so beware because your daughter might make you buy them all!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 112 Date: October 2006
Publisher: Orchard Books
ISBN: 1846160472

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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, the first set is about Rainbow Fairies (Jack Frost captures them so all colour disappears from fairyland) and thus contains seven volumes; the next one is about Weather Fairies and there is also Party Fairies, Pet Keeper Fairies, Jewel Fairies; as far as I know we will probably see Fruit and Vegetable Fairies soon. 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.

So far the series contains 30+ books, each of them bit over 40 pages and each with a cover price of healthy £3.99 (though special offers are often available online and on the high street).

My five year old loves the Rainbow Magic fairy books. They are, 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, adventure and happy endings. The baddies are just a little bit scary but not too much - nothing to give nightmares: magically grown goblins are still smaller than 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 doesn'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. The Rainbow Magic 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 the many line drawings present in the books.

I would say that the books are suitable for girls aged 4 to 8, but the top age would depend on the child. I would be tad worried if a 11 year old showed marked interest in the Rainbow Magic series though...

Is it recommended? A hard question, really. For non-readers there are certainly many 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 distinct 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 anybody over the age of 9. On the other hand refusal to read from an adult might prompt a beginner reader to make big efforts herself - my daughter has increased her motivation to learn to read as then she "will be able to read all the chapters in one go when she feels like it".

For children who already can (or should) read it might be a good one for reluctant ones that shy away from books as it's full of action, easy on vocab, appeals to manias for collecting and all things girly and is set in large, encouraging type, supported by drawings. A bit like the case with Harry Potter, if they start with Rainbow Magic, they might progress to something a bit more worthwhile (Harry Potter??) with time.

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Cindi Brooks said:

My daughter is doing a book report on the Author Daisy Meadows and we can not find any info on her anywhere.

Thanks for helping.

cgovin said:

I thought that your review was right on the money. However, I would like to mention that it really got my daughter (age 7) to read on her own, and gain confidence in reading by finishing an entire book rather quickly. Being in the US, we do not have access to the entire treasury - just the Rainbow Fairies and 5 out of 7 of the Weather Fairies. Scholastic is issuing them slowly. Thanks for your review.

tannerbanner597 said:

i love rainbow magic every single book is fun i have been asking for all of them but i only have 2 i wanted all of them.

Jo Cavell Youssry (mum of a 4 year old Rainbow Fairy devotee) said:

I have just discovered that Daisy Meadows is a pseudonym for a group of UK writers who together have compiled the series. Please don't tell your daughter!

krishna22 said:

I think that theses book were for up to 12 years old and if you think there for babies then you have a promble

Sue said:

My grandaughter, who isn't quite six, has just about grown out of them. They were a craze for a while, but she's moved on now.

Sam Walshe said:

I think this review is pretty much on the money. My five year old daughter has got the jewel fairies set and she loves them at the moment. I agree they may not be very original but they have given her a renewed interest in reading and she is trying to read them herself, so on that basis alone the series gets the thumbs up and appreciation from me.

Michelle Flanagan said:

How silly that an adult reviews a childs book based on adult requirements!

These books have inspired my daughter. She devours them and it has produced many wonderful drawings of rainbow magic fairies and story lines.

This, to me, shows the value of these books. So what if the baddies aren't really bad? Great as far as I am concerned! I would rather my children stay young for as long as possible. Why introduce horrid stuff just because you can?

Books for these ages, should inspire children to read and see what a wonderful world books can create. For me, these books do just that.

Many thanks.

Michelle Flanagan, mummy to Natalie (age 7) who is building up her Rainbow Magic collection.

Beth Ford said:

I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter and taught primary school. These books are fantastic. The stories are simple but my daughter is hooked on them. She devours them and we can't wait to hear the next bit each night. They are just long enough for beginner readers to retain the information. She spends every morning telling her version of the stories to her toys.

Any books that create eagerness for more stories and encourage children to pick up books are to be applauded. Have you read some of the so called beginning readers out there!!! Who can get excited about " the yellow car, the red car, the blue car!!!" We were looking for a series of books after reading the Airy fairy books together and found this. Not as exciting for adults but bang on the money for young children. We love the Rainbow fairies!!!!

Jim Brannigan said:

Not a bad review but I thought you were judging it a little harshly towards the end. My 6 year old daughter has read through her first Rainbow Magic series "Sports Fairies" and will be getting the "Party Fairies" next. This has been her graduation from reading out loud with myself prompting, to reading quietly on her own. She wasn't quite ready for the Nancy Drew/Famous Five books but these have worked out perfectly. There are just enough challenges in these books to keep your child learning but not enough to spoil the fun. I'd recommend them for any girl from ages 4 to 9. Probably most suited to 7 & 8 year olds though.