The Blurb On The Back:
Hope the Welcome Fairy helps children to make friends and settle in when they move to a new home. But when Jack Frost steals her magical items, children everywhere feel anxious and lonely. What’s worse is Jack Frost steals Hope as well! Rachel and Kirsty must ask their new friends Gracie and Khadijah for help rescuing her – but will they manage to restore her magic before it’s too late?
RAINBOW MAGIC – HOPE THE WELCOME FAIRY was released in the United Kingdom on 2nd March 2023. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.
You can order RAINBOW MAGIC – HOPE THE WELCOME FAIRY by Daisy Meadows from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK. I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Gracie Adebayo has just moved to the brand new Hawthorn Grove development near Wetherbury Village with her two mums. She quickly makes friends with Khadijah Khan who lives next door with her brother, parents and grandma.
When the two girls go exploring the estate, they meet older girls Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker in the local park and when Hope the Welcome Fairy asks Kirsty and Rachel for help in getting her magical items back from Jack Frost, Gracie and Khadijah are only too happy to assist her and their new friends.
But as the four friends look for Hope’s banner, teddy bear and necklace, they find themselves up against both goblins and trolls while Jack Frost is at his devious and cruel worst. When he kidnaps Hope, the four girls realise that they will need all of their courage and resourcefulness to rescue her and ensure that children everywhere are made to feel welcome when they move home.
The 59th in Daisy Meadows’s (a pseudonym for Narinder Dhabi, Sue Bentley, Linda Chapman and Sue Mongredien) RAINBOW MAGIC illustrated series for readers aged 5+ introduces new diverse characters (Gracie is Black and was born with one hand while Khadijah is Muslim) and there’s a real sense of danger with Jack Frost being quite nasty and gaining an ally in the troll chief. If your young reader wants to try this series, this is a good place to start.
I picked this up because I’ve read two previous books in the RAINBOW MAGIC SERIES – KAT THE JUNGLE FAIRY and FRENCHIE THE BULLDOG FAIRY and think that they are a good way of getting young girl readers into fantasy fiction as the books are very ‘girl friendly’ (they usually have pink and pastel shades on the covers and the subject matter is quite cute). However while there has been diversity among the fairies who Kirsty and Rachel meet, there is no getting away from the fact that Kirsty and Rachel are white. This book sees a welcome move away from that with the introduction of Gracie (who is Black, has two mums and was born with one hand) and Khadijah (who is Muslim and lives in a multi-generational household). One of the things I particularly liked about this book is how the girls’ respective cultures are incorporated into the text via food – one of Gracie’s mums makes jollof rice, pounded yam and efro riro and moi moi while Khadijah’s mum makes masala dosa, stuffed parathas and samosas and the new Hawthorn Grove estate community is shown coming together to try foods that they otherwise might not know about. I also liked the way that Gracie’s disability is introduced and how she talks about being worried about not being able to answer questions about it from her new classmates when she starts school.
At the same time, whereas in the previous books I’ve read there hasn’t been much of a sense of jeopardy from Jack Frost and his goblins, here the stakes are ramped right up. Jack Frost plays more of a direct role here rather than just turning up to boss his goblins around and then disappear. He also has a clear motivation for wanting Hope’s magical items as a group of trolls has moved next door to his castle and he thinks that using them will chase them away. I enjoyed the introduction of the trolls, who seem to be predominantly female and have no problem answering back to Jack Frost while also sharing his hatred of the fairies – it suggests that there could be a real threat to the kingdom in future books.
If I’m going to be picky then there is a bit of an insta-friendship element to the four girls all meeting up and getting along but this is a short book aimed at 5 year olds so it works to move the plot along. I’ve previously criticised the illustrations as being a bit basic but I did think that they worked better here, not least because you are shown how Gracie only has one hand before you read it, which I thought was clever.
The book is billed as being 3 stories in one. In fact, as with the earlier books, this is basically one long story divided into 3 parts (one part for each magical item) but the description does make it more palatable to younger readers and will make them feel that they are accomplishing more with their reading as they go through each one.
Given that this series is 59 books in, it can be quite daunting for young readers to start from the beginning (even if the series does have a reading challenge scheme where you can colour in a star on a chart for each book read). If your young reader is new to chapter books and wants to give this a try, then I think that this book would work as a jumping off place because Gracie and Khadijah are new to the world of fairies themselves. Your reader can then go back and check out earlier books as/when they want to while waiting for the newer books to come out.
All in all, I think this is a fun book that has good representation and a story with a sense of danger but without ever being too frightening for young readers and is a great way of getting young readers into fantasy fiction.