My Goddaughter Hannah was a huge fan of Laura’s first series, Amelia Fang. One was the class read when she was younger and over time she ended up with the entire series (I may or may not have had something to do with that). After a while I ended up picking up one for myself and giving it a read, I really enjoyed it so when I heard Laura had finished (temporarily?) that series and was starting on another I knew I just needed to read it.
Title: Rainbow Grey
Author: Laura Ellen Anderson
Publication Date: 27th May 2021
About The Book…
Ten-year-old Ray Grey lives in the magical Weatherlands, high in the sky! Ray is surrounded by Weatherlings with astounding weather power at their fingertips . . . but she doesn’t have ANY magic!
Then, after a trip to Earth, Ray’s life changes forever. She is transformed from Ray Grey intro RAINBOW GREY! With the help of her best friends (and exploding cloud cat, Nim) now all Ray has to do is master her powers AND save the world from a mysterious, powerful enemy…
Ray Grey is the only young Weatherling in her class without even a drop of weather magic, that is until the night of the great eclipse when a quick trip down to earth changes everything…
Rainbow Grey begins with two beautiful double page illustrations introducing you to Ray Gray, her friends, family and exploding cloud cat Nim, and the world of The Weatherlands before you’re quickly plunged into the story following Ray on her way to school. I think the introduction to any series can be difficult as you walk the line between introducing a whole cast of characters but also building action to draw the readers attention. I think Laura does a wonderful job of balancing the two, not only introducing Ray and her classmates but also allowing the reader to understand a little about weather magic and its role in creating the weather, and the storms, down on earth. The cast of characters and the plot is engaging and broken up into great bite sized chapters that would allow younger children to venture out into independent reading, or for a parent to read a couple of chapters before bed without it taking too long. Alternatively a slightly older child might take great pleasure in demolishing the book in a single sitting. Laura’s stunning illustrations on most pages along with a slightly larger font size mean that although the book comes in at nearly 300 pages you’ll easily find yourself over halfway through without even realising it.
Ray is such a wonderful central character, while the concept of a character missing a gift only to discover actually, they have one of the most powerful gifts of all might not be a novel one, Laura writes it brilliantly. I really enjoyed seeing Ray grow as she came into her gift and realised what a challenge it was, it certainly wasn’t always plain sailing but her development by the end of the story was a joy to read and I look forward to seeing how she continues to grow in the second book.
Snowden and Droplett were two fantastic friends to Ray, always supportive, and occasionally trying to be a voice of reason, I can’t quite decide if I’d rather have snow or rain magic… I’m not the biggest fan of the cold so I think I’d probably have to lean towards rain magic… Also, the ability to puddle port would certainly make my commute much easier!
I really liked the fact that Ray also had two supportive parents, I’m hoping we might get a little more of them in the second book, Ray’s mum Cloudia seems like the sort of person who is an absolute delight but you definitely don’t want to get on the wrong side of and then we have her dad, Haze, a Weather Warrior, whose job consists of fighting the rogues that create havoc with storms on earth – he must have been busy so far during 2022! Finally, I’m just going to say I’d never trust a pigeon…
I can’t finish my review without again mentioning Laura’s illustrations. I touched on them previously, but I do absolutely adore Laura’s style of illustration and it’s a joy to have a book so filled to the brim with them! I can’t imagine how long it must have taken her to draw each and every one of them but it’s so worth it, they just bring the story to life whether that’s meeting Ray herself, or Bakers Slap and Streak, seeing Nim put himself back together in a strange way after yet another explosion or simply getting a better idea of what Cloudia is like thanks to all the objects in her hair she really brings The Weatherlands to life!
What a wonderful introduction to The Weatherlands, Rainbow Grey and her friends and family! A book filled with humour and adventure and some heartwarming friendships! As always Laura’s wonderful illustrations do so much to bring her words to life! I also think the book could be a great way to introduce the idea of climate change to children, a fabulous starting point for some conversations. Fortunately for me the sequel, Rainbow Grey: Eye of the Storm is already sitting on my shelves, and I look forward to seeing what Ray, Snowden and Droplett get up to next!
About The Author…
Laura loves ALL things Autumn, pumpkin spice, crunchy leaves, the smell of woodsmoke and big chunky knit jumpers. Halloween is my most favourite season and her spirit creature is the pumpkin.
When she’s not working, she’s usually making 3D models characters, creating fan art for my favourite TV shows and films, baking (and eating) and watching Pixar documentaries.
She was born in Essex in 1988 and now lives in London. She studied illustration at University College Falmouth and graduated with a First Class degree in 2010. .
The Amelia Fang series was her first fiction series as author and illustrator, featuring a young vampire and her friends. Amelia Fang has been published in over 20 languages. Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball was Waterstones Book of the month for October 2017 and won the Leeds Book Award for the 7-9 category.
She’s also the megalomaniac creator of the Evil Emperor Penguin comic which appears in The Phoenix comic. There are four books in the Evil Emperor Penguin graphic novel series. Book Two Evil Emperor Penguin Strikes Back won the Islington Schools Book Awards 2018 (On World Penguin Day no less!)
Her picture book I Don’t Want Curly Hair has been published in over ten languages and is the first of a series of future I Don’t Want… books. Other books in the series include I Don’t Want to be Small and I Don’t Want to be Quiet!
She has been fortunate enough to illustrate a range of very exciting book covers such as Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, The Amazing Maurice, Dodger and is currently illustrating Nation. She also illustrated the relaunch of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, and Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider series.
She’s worked with authors such as Sibeal Pounder, Cerrie Burnell, David Solomons, Caryl Hart and Peter Bently.
Connect With Laura
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As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?