A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Rainbow Magic series is made up of several smaller sets of seven adventures, for a total of more than 200 individual books. Each story follows best friends Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker as they help their fairy friends resolve a problem involving bad guy Jack Frost and his goblin minions. Each story follows best friends Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker as they help their fairy friends resolve a problem involving bad guy Jack Frost and his goblin minions. Though the stories are all pretty similar, they're a fine introduction to fantasy adventures for young kids; there's always some kind of suspense or mild peril, but it's always resolved quickly and painlessly. And Kirsty and Rachel are model tweens -- respectful, polite, helpful, and clever (they usually use their brains to outwit the bad guys, rather than brawn) -- who value their friendship and their secret alliance with the fairies. These books are great for read-aloud.
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What's the story?
The RAINBOW MAGIC SERIES follows best friends Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker, tweens who first meet during family vacations to Rainspell Island, where they help Ruby the Red Fairy and get involved in the first of many adventures to come. In each set of seven books in the series, the two girls meet a new group of seven fairies, all of whom have something in common (rainbow magic, weather magic, party magic, flower magic, and so on) and all of whom are somehow at risk of losing their magic because of a plot by the mean Jack Frost, who's usually motivated by a feeling such as jealousy or greed. The fairies (who are led by King Oberon and Queen Titania) recruit Kirsty and Rachel for help, typically in the form of recovering some kind of magic item that's also the target of Jack Frost's minions, the bumbling goblins. Inevitably, the girls face some kind of challenge or peril, think quickly to save the day, and help restore peace to Fairyland ... until the next time the magic finds them.
Is it any good?
This series won't win any awards for originality -- once you've read one of these books, you've pretty much read all 200+ -- but it's a sweet, fun introduction to fantasy for young children. The dangerous situations and quickly resolved cliffhangers are both fast-paced enough to keep kids interested and mild enough to ensure that those who aren't ready for anything edgier won't get too stressed about what's going to happen to Kirsty and Rachel. There's a somewhat stereotypically "girly" focus on fashion (the outfits of Rachel, Kirsty, and the fairies are always carefully described), but at least the fairies have a wide range of hair and skin colors and clothing styles.
If you're reading these aloud to your kids, once you're used to the books' pattern, you may find your mind wandering to bigger-picture questions -- just how many weeks off school do these girls have, anyway? And why aren't there any boy fairies? -- but as series for young readers go, Rainbow Magic is a fine choice. It's not a problem to read the different subsets of books out of order (any references made to other adventures are quick and in passing), and it's possible that a little fairy magic could encourage kids on the verge of "real" reading to make the final leap, which is always a good thing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what kids like about the Rainbow Magic series. Is it the characters? The plots? How are the different adventures similar to one another? What sets one group of books apart from the other?
What makes Kirsty and Rachel such good friends? Do you have any friends you're that close to? What kinds of adventures have you had together?
Which other book series do you like? What do they have in common?
- Author: Daisy Meadows
- Illustrator: Georgie Ripper
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
- Publication date: May 1, 2005
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 80
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), iBooks, Kindle
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