Friday, January 23, 2009
Fairies, Fairies EVERYWHERE
Posted by Gwen R. @ 4:40 AM
Ruby the Red Fairy (Rainbow Magic: The Rainbow Fairies, No. 1)
By Daisy Meadows
Ages 4 yrs – 8 yrs
Ed. Note: And here we have the fourth installment from sister-ville. Thanks again, G - you can write here anytime!
It started with Ruby the Red Fairy. A simple little book, cute little fairy girl on the front cover, bright colors (I’m a sucker for bright book covers). My daughter brought it home in kindergarten as an introductory chapter reader. I was proud. She was proud. She read it aloud to me. We both enjoyed the adventures of Rachel and Kirsty as they raced to help fairy Ruby find her way back to her magical fairy world.
Then the next book came home. Ruby’s rainbow sister Amber the Orange Fairy had to be rescued. Then came Sunny the Yellow Fairy (this book was evidently published under two different titles…some libraries have it as Saffron the Yellow Fairy), then Fern the Green Fairy and on and on and on and on.
Overall, it is great to see my girl reading obsessively. She eats these simple texts whole and for the first time in her reading life, can’t wait to see what happens next in the story (continued, of course, in the next book). There is something about the little line drawings throughout the books that enthralls her (‘Look Mommy - a new fairy!) and I think the repetition of the serial story is comforting to my narrative-adverse reader.
The reading level is described by publisher Scholastic as ages four to eight, which seems about right. If you have an early reader, these are extremely accessible books with little conflict (and such that they are incredibly predictable after book one). If you have an eight year old emergent reader, there is enough pleasure in moving through these little stories that it would feel good to stick with it. I’d like to say that they are gender neutral, but I can’t. These are very girl-centric stories.
But from the parent side, Warning Will Robinson! These are books best left to silent reading! I admit, I enjoyed Ruby the Red Fairy just fine. It was a good cut above some of the absurd little books she had been bringing home that only used the same twenty words over and over. And more importantly, the (slightly) more complex narrative didn’t stress out my daughter before bedtime. I was even dialed in for our quest for Amber. But as Sunny turned into Fern turned into…I was done. T argues that each book is very different. But, um, she’s seven. Turns out we have pretty different taste in books.
The most stunning thing about the Rainbow Magic books is that there are so MANY of them! Yes, it is great that my daughter wants to collect books and I love how she beams when she reports to anyone who will listen that she now owns THIRTY-TWO books in the series. (It seems to be a status thing in the classroom right now – who among the girls has read the most rainbow fairies. Though wrought with painful girl-politics, it is at least better than the last status symbol – the amassing of tiny plastic creatures.) But come on. Thirty-two versions of the same story over and over and over again? Can the villain, the angry Jack Frost, really still have it out for these little fairies? Turns out, too, that there is a fairy for just about everything. From the color fairies we moved to the weather fairies to the jewel fairies to the pet fairies and most recently, to the day fairies (seven in all, as you might guess). Oh, and there are some special editions, some collectibles, and goodness knows what else.
My favorite extra is that the king and queen of the fairies are named King Oberon and Queen Titania. After consuming 32 of these wee narratives, T is absolutely convinced that Rainbow Magic author Daisy Meadows coined the names. When we saw a children’s theater performance of Midsummer’s Night Dream over the summer she said to me, “Hey, Shakespeare stole the names from the Rainbow Fairy books!” Well, one step forward, two steps back?