When Rachel and Kirsty arrive at Rainspell Island for vacation, they have no idea what kind of magical adventure awaits! The seven Rainbow Fairies have been banished from Fairyland by the wicked Jack Frost. If they don't return soon, Fairyland is doomed to be colorless and gray. In the pot at the end of the rainbow, Rachel and Kirsty come across Ruby the Red Fairy. Can they keep her safe and find the rest of her Rainbow sisters . . . before it's too late?
The English have a long history with fairies, from ancient times to Shakespeare's Titania and Oberon, to Victorian's obsession with fairies, Barrie's Tinker Bell and Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies. British author Meadows has established quite an industry of fairy books (Weather, Jewel, Fashion, Holiday). The "Rainbow Magic" series introduces the seven Rainbow Fairies, one for each color, with a simple story line and a plot borrowed from the (French) fairies of "Sleeping Beauty." Because he was not invited to a ball, Jack Frost has put a curse on Fairyland, robbing it of all color and banishing the Rainbow Fairies forever. Like the ballet's Lilac Fairy, Queen Titania mitigates the curse by dispatching the fairy sisters to earth's Rainspell Island until they can find a way to return. Rachel and Kirsty just happen to be vacationing on the island, where they discover Ruby and vow to help her find the other six so color can be restored to Fairyland; that is all for this first book. One might wish the ending were not such a blatant pitch for the next story in the series. The American edition changes the names of two fairies, but Ruby remains much the same (note her resemblance to Barker's poppy fairy, who wears a similar scarlet silk dress). These little creatures, with their preteen fashions and a pleasant but undemanding storyline, will probably appeal to young readers with a taste for pretty magic, but they are much too tame and derivative to summon up any real mystery or wonder. 2003, Little Apple/Scholastic, Ages 7 to 9.