Immy was a big fan or the Rainbow Magic book series for many years but I am secretly relieved to say that she has totally moved on. While their magical stories of friendship are somewhat captivating for 5-8 year olds, I found them somewhat repetitive and formulaic, more than a little shallow and excessively sparkly. Today I am sharing 12 series’ that Immy has enjoyed as an alternative to the Rainbow Magic titles. Some I have found and introduced and others Immy has discovered and devoured herself. Most are shortish chapter books, with simple vocabulary and illustrations scattered throughout the story. Some are as sparkly as their Rainbow Magic counterparts but when that is what your child likes to read, then that is what you’re most frequently scanning the library or bookshop shelves for. Most are simple enough for children aged (approximately) 7-10 to read on their own, but if your child is anything like mine, they still love it when you read to them too!
We have read numerous titles from each series, and if you click on the series title you will be taken through to an Amazon link where you can find more information, age recommendations and reader reviews (these are affiliate links).
Magic Animal Friends by Daisy Meadows
Welcome to Friendship Forest, home of the Magic Animal Fairies! When Jess and Lily follow a mysterious golden cat into the magical Friendship Forest, their adventures truly begin. In each book the girls help their magic animal friends in the forest to outwit the wicked witch Grizelda who is intent on taking over the Friendship Forest for herself and her horrible band of smelly Boggits.
My notes: A nice change from fairies, Immy loves the cute animals featured in this series.
Candy Fairies by Helen Perelman
The world of Sugar Valley is very sweet indeed! Each Candy Fairy has a talent related to a different type of candy – there is Cocoa the Chocolate Fairy, Raina the Gummy Fairy and Melli the Caramel Fairy, to name just a few. In each book one fairy faces a personal challenge related to her talent (which she solves with the help of her candy fairy friends), many of which are created or exacerbated by the sour old troll, Mogo.
My notes: Short, sweet and fun but a little too sweet at times for this mummy!
The Secret Mermaid by Sue Mongredien
Molly receives a pretty shell necklace from her Gran and is amazed to discover it is enchanted – by night she transforms into the secret mermaid. Molly enjoys a series of adventures in the Undersea Kingdom, helping Queen Luna, Princess Silva, the mermaids and an array of sea creatures to overcome the wicked plans of the Dark Queen, who will do anything to take control of the Undersea Kingdom.
My notes: Think Rainbow Magic underwater and with a tail
Magic Ballerina by Darcey Bussell
Prima ballerina and star dancing judge, Darcey Bussell, created this series of magical ballet adventures. In each book, a student ballerina is whisked away to Enchantia, a faraway world full of magic, music and dancing where the characters from the most beautiful ballets live together. The citizens of Enchantia generally all live in harmony, at least until the evil King Rat threatens the peace!
My notes: Featuring a different famous ballet in each book, we are enjoying relating the story to what we know about each ballet – especially since Immy is a blossoming ballerina herself.
Fairy Animals of Misty Wood by Lily Small
Misty Wood is a very magical place – so magical that all the animals who live there fly like fairies, and every animal has a different pair of fairy wings. They each also have a very special job to do
My notes: Cute characters star in sweet stories that are sure to resonate with young fairy lovers.
Secret Kingdom by Rosie Banks
Ellie, Summer, and Jasmine are the very best of friends. One day they find a magical box that whisks them away to the Secret Kingdom, a world full of every wonderfully magical thing under the sun. In each book the girls help King Merry and the Royal Pixie, Trixi, to overcome the cunning plans of the King’s sister, Queen Malice, to make everyone in the Secret Kingdom as miserable as she is!
My notes: A long time favourite for Immy. I don’t mind it either!
The Tiara Club by Vivian French
Each book tells the story of new friendships and challenges at a boarding school to prepare perfect princesses from the perspective of a different princess.
My notes: The friendship issues the princesses face are easy for young readers to relate to. The friends stick together and help each other.
Unicorn Magic series by Jessica Burkhart
Princess Bella lives in the Crystal Kingdom, where magic, unicorns and royalty coexist with intercoms and photography. As a royal, Bella’s eighth birthday is important—her aura will become visible, and she will get her own unicorn.
My notes: An easy read but quite simplistic story lines. Not my favourite.
Hattie B, Magical Vet by Claire Taylor-Smith
On her tenth birthday, Hattie B is swept into the magical Kingdom of Bellua where she discovers that she has inherited the title of Guardian to the creatures of Bellua from her Uncle, the Magical Vet before her. Unfortunately the evil King Ivar of the Imps is determined to steal the magical talents of the creatures who reside in Bellua and as Guardian, Hattie is charged with finding cures to the ailments that befall each creature (unicorns, dragons, mermaids and more) as a result of King Ivar’s mischief.
My notes: The veterinarian storyline is just that bit different to many of the series’ on this list and each book we’ve read also creates discussion about the values of friendship, together which make them a little more interesting then some of the others on the list.
The Stardust Series by Linda Chapman
Lucy is just a normal nine-year-old girl, or so she thinks. Her life changes completely when she finds out she is a stardust spirit. Along with her best friends Allegra, Ella and Faye, she has to learn how to use her stardust magic but as she does so she learns that she is unusually powerful for her age.
My notes: Immy literally devoured these stories of fantasy, family and friendship.
Tales of the Frog Princess by E.D Baker
E.D. Baker’s princess books feature princesses who are less than traditional. The Tales of the Frog Princess series follow the adventures of 14-year-old Princess Emeralda and the talking frog she meets one day in a swamp. The frog begs her to give him a kiss so that he will turn back into Prince Eadric, his identity before an evil witch turned him into an amphibian. When the young royal obliges, she, too, is transformed into a frog, and the two leap off in search of the spell-casting witch to ask her to reverse her handiwork.
My notes: Featuring humour, adventure, magic, fairies, witches and romance – definitely one for those at the older end of the tween age range.
The Fairy Realm by Emily Rodda
Jessie is amazed when she discovers a secret door in her grandmother’s garden – leading to the magical world of the Realm. All kinds of magical beings live in the Realm, and a noble Queen in a great golden palace rules them all. But everything in this magic kingdom is not as idyllic as it first seems, the Realm is in danger and Jessie must outwit an evil enemy to save it before it is all destroyed.
My notes: This is probably our overall favourite series on this list. It has more detailed characters and storylines than many of those listed. Immy also listens to the audio story versions over and over again.
Does your 7-10 year old have a favourite chapter book series?