Monday, February 3, 2014

At the Children’s Desk: “Can you find me this Rainbow Magic fairy?”

Who can resist those beautifully colored Rainbow Magic paperbacks? Though they are beginning chapter books intended to be read independently, they are just as popular with the preschool set as with second graders, even though the preschoolers can’t read a word of them. Now and then, one such excited preschooler will come running to the children’s desk, plop down a book, point to one of the fairies on the back cover and say, “Do you have her?”

The first time I got this question, I was stricken like a deer in headlights. All the fairies look the same! I thought. How am I supposed to know if we have her?! I could have sent my little patron back to the shelf and forced her to look through every book until she found the fairy wearing the exact outfit that had struck her fancy. But even a four-year-old with a fairy fascination deserves good library service, so that’s not what I did. Instead, I asked my little friend if I could see the book. I flipped it over to find out which of the many groups of fairies the one she was looking for belonged to.

Thankfully, the Rainbow Magic series is pretty clearly labeled, so the front cover makes it clear which series we’re talking about. I’m equally thankful that Rainbow Magic has such a visual website. The next thing I did was type in and find the series we were interested in. I allowed the preschooler to stand beside me while I looked so she could see the fairies as well. As soon as I found the right set of fairies, she pointed at the one she had in mind. I typed her name into the catalog and from there, we were able to locate the correct book.

I really wish I had a good enough memory and enough time to memorize the hair color, wand, and style of dress of each of the hundreds of fairies created by the pseudonymous Daisy Meadows, because nothing would make me more popular with preschoolers than the ability to name them on demand, but until that day comes, this system is pretty foolproof, too.
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