Lately I've found myself in need of some color and happiness as earlier this month, I lost someone very close to me. In this person's absence I have found myself returning to the things that have brought me comfort over the years and one of the main sources of that comfort is Hallmark's Rainbow Brite property. The character, and the world she inhabits, has always had a way of painting mine bright and beautiful - even when I was sure the darkness was everlasting. Lucky for me, Hallmark Cards has been very busy (re)painting Rainbow Land with the color of success.
As a child, I learned to read from the Rainbow Brite series. Books on tape (or record) were a very fashionable (and profitable) commodity and I would spend hours memorizing the stories of Rainbow Brite and her friends, to the point where I can still recite most of them by heart, even today. So it brings me great joy that Hallmark has released so many new books featuring the colorful cutie - including two that were just released this month.
The first book "Rainbow Brite and the Stormy Race" is a pop-up book by Amy Trowbridge-Yates and illustrated by Jack Pullan and Brian Pilachowski. In a video review, Rainbow Brite expert, Katy Cartee Haile (of RainbowBrite.Net), claims that the books is unlike any pop-up book she's ever seen, and I agree. It's not like any of the pop-books I remember. This is some 3D, hold onto your seats, totally awesome, truly outrageous rainbow goodness. First (and Katy - who is a dear friend, and I totally agree), the book is the first to heavily feature the fan-favorite color kid, Stormy, who is in charge of all things cloud related in Rainbow Land. It is also the first book to feature Krys, the heroic-space boy introduced in Rainbow Brite's and the Star Stealer (the property's first - and only - feature film). In addition to the beautiful art, Trowbridge-Yates also crafts a wonderful story that will not only entertain new fans - but fans of the original series as well. The book retails for $24.99 and is worth every penny.
The second new book "Rainbow Brite and the Lost Horseshoe" is a ColorQuest storybook written by Keely Chace and (once again) illustrated by Pullan. The story is cute, fun and interesting because of the fact that it comes with a little Rainbow Brite figure (voiced by Kara Goodier) who talks to you when you place the figure on colored circles as you read. The figure also contains music queues and other voices (like the sprites). It's different - but fun and very enjoyable and understandably priced at $29.99.
The two new books join "The Wit and Wisdom of Rainbow Brite" by Molly Wigand (a member of the original Rainbow Brite team) which features quotes, and contains artwork from the original series, guaranteed to cheer you up. There is also "Help Me Save The Rainbow" by Matt Gowan, "Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids Caper" also written by Keely Chase, and "Rainbow Brite and the Very Brave Day" (the first in the new series) written by Melvina Young - all of which have been illustrated by Pullan and retail between $12.95 and $19.95.
Though it is different to hear voices other than Bettina Bush and Robbie Lee voicing my favorite characters, as a fan of the property I am very excited for what Hallmark is doing and cannot wait to see what they have in store. With all of the reboots and rebranding of my childhood (Teddy Ruxpin comes out next year), it's nice to see someone doing it right. Hallmark has kept true to who Rainbow Brite is at her core and ensured that her style resembles what we (the original fans) remember. For that I thank you - and look forward to what the future offers.