Natalie the Christmas Stocking Fairy (Rainbow Magic Special Edition), by Daisy Meadows (2011)
For this second review of Christmas, I have chosen one of GirlChild’s newest obsessions: the Rainbow Magic fairies! These books are promoted as 2nd-3rd grade interest level and 3rd grade reading level, but the formulaic nature of the series and the high interest topic make them pretty accessible for new chapter book readers, and their appearance (including thickness) makes them appropriate high-interest, low-reading-level books for older children as well. After the Ramona books, these are GirlChild’s favorites to read and reread, and they’re a whole lot simpler!
The basic storyline of every book in this series appears to be that Kirsty and Rachel (two friends in the human world) notice that something is amiss and suddenly discover a goblin (one of Jack Frost’s lackeys) making mischief. Either a fairy shows up to ask them for help (typically in finding her three magical objects which, of course, Jack Frost has stolen) or they use their special lockets filled with fairy dust (which causes them to shrink to the size of the fairies and sprout wings) to bring them to Fairyland to tell the fairies about what’s been going on. They then help the fairy find her magical objects (or sometimes just one object in the shorter books) and convince the goblin in possession of the stolen goods to give the magical object over in exchange for something the fairy with her magic can provide. The last stop is always with Jack Frost himself. Of course, everything works out in the end, and everyone is happy again…until next time Jack Frost steals something!
In this book, Kirsty and Rachel and their families are spending Christmas together at a cottage in the country, and things keep going wrong while the two girls try to make pies. When they see a goblin taking off after he destroys their kitchen, they decide to go to Fairyland to warn the Christmas fairies. When they arrive at the Christmas Workshop, Natalie is distraught because her magical items are missing and none of her Christmas preparations are going right. While the other Christmas fairies head off to warn the Fairy King and Queen about what is happening, Kirsty and Rachel go with Natalie to search for the first item. After finding and retrieving the magic Christmas pie, they return to the cottage to wait for Natalie to come to them with any information she has about finding the other objects. This time, their parents announce that the stockings have gone missing, and Natalie arrives with news of the missing enchanted stocking. Kirsty and Rachel catch some goblins trying to abscond with their stockings, and they once again work out a deal to get the magic object back. They overhear the leaving goblins say something that makes them believe the last object is at the Ice Castle with Jack Frost, so they all head there to sneak in and try to find it. The charmed candy cane is tucked into the throne next to a grumpy and demanding Jack Frost (who is cranky because he never gets anything from Santa). Once they snag the magical candy cane, Natalie feels sorry for Jack Frost and the goblins and makes a wish for all of them to get the treats that they like best (since they like gross stuff like bogwater and seaweed instead of sweets) and they all get their own stocking. Kirsty and Rachel return to the human world to find their new fairy-themed stockings full of gifts just in time for Christmas Day.
GirlChild’s Reactions: I could write all day about GirlChild’s love of these books. It’s unhealthy, I tell you! That said, the books are clean, topically interesting (to fairy-obsessed young girls in particular), have cute illustrations, and are formulaic enough to make comprehension easier for new or struggling readers. I also know that all I have to do to make her happy every Thursday is to come home from library day with a Rainbow Magic book and a Boxcar Children mystery. She says she likes the books because she likes fairies and because the fairies are nice and kind. She and I worked out the solution to the conflict in every book–just let Jack Frost know to come and ask the fairies nicely for whatever it is he wants–but since the characters in these books will never figure that out, the series will go on, and GirlChild will continue to love it!
Other Christmas books in the series: