Featuring a bright anime-influenced visual design, Winx Club (TV Y7) stars a flight of stylish teenage fairies with an updated look and an array of magical abilities. Created by Iginio Straffi and produced by the Italian animation studio Rainbow, this TV series launched in 2004 and has since aired in the U.S. on various networks. Nickelodeon now holds the licensing rights and is currently producing the English-dubbed version. The show’s fifth season, “Winx Club: Beyond Believix,” premiered in August and is debuting new episodes on Sundays. An animated feature, The Secret of the Lost Kingdom, was recently released on DVD, and additional movies and episode collections are also available. The franchise also includes fashion dolls and their accoutrement, costumes and dress-up accessories, and numerous video games.
Bloom, a seemingly regular teenager, discovers her true identity as a fairy and travels to the dimension of Magix to attend Alfea College, a much-respected fairy school, and hone her magical powers. Here, she forms friendships with five other students: carefree and charismatic Stella, Fairy of the Shining Sun; Flora, group peacemaker and Fairy of Nature; Musa, Fairy of Music and resident mystery-solver; science-savvy Tecna, Fairy of Technology; and audacious and athletic Aisha, Fairy of Waves (voiced by Keke Palmer). Calling themselves the Winx Club, the girls work hard at their studies and have fun spending time together. When threatened by evil forces, including a trio of mischief-making witches from Cloudtower Academy known as the Trix, Bloom and her cohorts transform from trendily dressed teens into winged fairies and band together to use their unique abilities to vanquish their foes. The girls often team up—and hang out—with the Specialists, a group of wizards/warriors-in-training from nearby Red Fountain School. Themes of identity, exploring one’s strengths (magical and otherwise), and friendships and romances are mixed with humor and good-versus-evil adventures.
Kids can visit Nickelodeon’s Winx website to find out more about the characters, watch videos and full episodes, take quizzes (“Which Winx are you?”), and sample a variety of online games. For newcomers to the series, a “Winx 101” option provides background on the personalities and plotlines with a click-on timeline of images and clips.
Book Tie-ins: Novels and Graphic Novels
Followers of these fashion-forward fairy friends will enjoy reading about their heroines’ adventures in two new book series that emphasize teamwork, camaraderie, and self-discovery. Random House has launched a series of fast-reading chapter books based on the show’s plot, each featuring an inviting cover image of a bright-eyed Bloom. Welcome to Alfea reveals how the ordinary sixteen-year-old protagonist discovers her hidden talents when she stumbles upon Stella, a blonde-haired girl with wings, being bullied by a bunch of gruesome creatures at the park. Wanting to help, Bloom somehow taps into her magical powers, thus discovering her true identity as a fairy. Heading off to the Magic Dimension with Stella, she settles in and makes new friends, has her first run in with the wicked witch triumvirate, and starts to truly believe in her newfound abilities. In the second volume, Bloom begins to uncover the secrets of her past, while encountering Trouble with Trix (both Random, 2012; Gr 2-5), who are determined to steal Bloom’s greatest strength, the power of the Dragon Flame. Both tales are clearly written with accessible vocabulary, concisely described action, and entertaining dialogue. Magical adventures and battles with monsters alternate with friendship issues and personal dilemmas. Each volume includes eight pages of full-color photos from the show. Series viewers will appreciate learning about or revisiting Bloom’s beginnings.
Readers with a taste for storytelling that blends succinct narrative with vibrant visuals will be drawn to Viz Media’s graphic novel series. Adorned with sherbet-hued images of the fairies and title logos that sparkle, each volume includes two stand-alone stories. Bloom’s Discovery of her identity as a fairy is recapped in the first book, along with a tale about her “First Day in Magix” and first skirmish with the Trix. In Secrets of Alfea, the fairies are getting ready to host a party for the Red Fountain boys, and it’s up to Bloom to stop the Trix from making mischief.
The Red Fountain Boys return in the second adventure, when their decision to detour from a troll-transporting mission and pay a visit to the girls ends up in disaster and they must all work together to set things right. The Magic of Friendship (all Viz Media, 2012; Gr 3-6) describes how hard-working Bloom beats out two other girls for a part-time waitressing job, and then takes on a terrifying swamp monster (and the evil Trix) with the help of her friends. The show’s mix of humor, action, and fantasy translates well into the graphic novel format. The artwork emphasizes exaggerated facial expressions for comic beats, dynamically delineates rampaging monsters and magical-forces wielding fairies, and colorfully depicts the other-worldly settings and dazzling transformations. With lithe lines and sharp angles, the illustrations have a sophisticated look, and dabs of personal drama—friendship issues and crushes—will also reel in tween readers.
Expand their Horizons
Encourage Winx Club viewers as well fans of the Disney Fairies to stretch their wings and dip into other fairy fare. Starring a feisty protagonist, The Night Fairy (Candlewick, 2010; Gr 1-5) details the adventures of Flora, a young fairy with injured wings who must learn to fend for herself in the wilds of a giantess’s (aka human woman’s) garden. Laura Amy Schlitz’s vivacious storytelling and Angela Barrett’s elegant and atmospheric artwork present an evocatively imagined fairy’s-eye view of the world, while providing a suspenseful tale that percolates with exciting danger, fortitude-testing challenges, and newfound friendships.
Beginning with Silence and Stone (2010; Gr 2-5), Kathleen Duey’s easy chapter book series, “The Faeries’ Promise,” serves as a companion to her popular “Unicorn’s Secret” series (both S & S). Alida, a young faerie princess, has been locked away in a castle for years by Lord Dunraven, a man determined to stop any contact between people and magical creatures. With the help of a daring human boy named Gavin, she makes her escape and embarks on a quest to find the rest of her family. Though she finally has the opportunity to tap into her fairy powers, danger lurks everywhere, and the two friends are continually threatened by capture. Sandara Tang’s fine-lined drawings depict the dramatic high points and add to the magical mood.
Gail Carson Levine and David Christiana’s Fairies and the Quest for Never Land (Disney, 2010; Gr 2-5) stars Gwendolyn Carlisle, a descendant of the famed Wendy Darling and latest recipient of the “kiss” necklace (actually an old button made from an acorn), given by Peter Pan to Wendy long ago and passed down for years from mother to daughter. She breathlessly awaits a magical nighttime visit, but when Peter Pan finally comes to fetch her to Never Land, things do not go as expected: not only is the evil dragon Kyto on the loose, but Gwendolyn must work hard to earn the trust of the fairies who are determined to recapture the flame-spewing beast. A resourceful heroine, short and suspenseful chapters, and whimsical full-color artwork add up to a fun-filled, sprinkled-with-shimmer adventure. Readers may also want to check out the other well-written and handsomely illustrated entries in the duo’s “Disney Fairies” series.
Looking for more offerings to tempt fairy devotees? Check out “Gossamer Wings and Magical Charms: Tales of the Fairy Realm.”
REISFELD, Randi, adapt. Winx Club: Welcome to Alfea. Vol. 1. ISBN 978-0-307-97994-0.
_____. Winx Club: Trouble with Trix. Vol. 2. ISBN 978-0-307-97995-7.
ea vol: Random. 2012. pap. $4.99.
Winx Club: Volume 1: Bloom’s Discovery. ISBN 978-1-4215-4159-4.
Winx Club: Volume 2: Secrets of Alfea. ISBN 978-1-4215-4160-0.
Winx Club: Volume 3: The Magic of Friendship. ISBN 978-1-4215-4161-7.
ea vol: Viz Media. 2012. pap. $6.99.
SCHLITZ, Amy. The Night Fairy. illus. by Angela Barrett. Candlewick. 2010. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763636746; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9780763652951; ebook $6.99. ISBN 9780763654399.
DUEY, Kathleen. Silence and Stone. illus. by Sandara Tang. (The Faeries’ Promise Series). S & S. 2010. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781416984566; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781416984573; ebook $5.99. ISBN 9781442413016.
LEVINE, Gail Carson. Fairies and the Quest for Never Land. illus. by David Christiana. Disney. 2010. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-1423109358; pap. $7.99. ISBN 978-1423160120.
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