Ranking Childhood Shows and Books

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Issue 4, Volume 113

By Michelle Lee 

Cover Image

In first grade, nothing was more relaxing than collapsing on the couch and watching an episode of “Winx Club.” I loved seeing the group of friends overcome obstacles and defeat The Trix. My return to the show nine years later has led me to binge-watch several other of my childhood favorites as well. After digging deep within my seven-second memory, I ranked them in order from least to most favorite.

Without further ado, here are my unsolicited opinions on media for first graders.

5. “The Magic Treehouse.”

To be honest, I don’t remember much about this book series. I know it’s a historical fiction fantasy, which makes me less likely to retain any information. But here’s what stuck with me most: Jack and Annie have less personality than me, and I already consider myself a very boring person. Jack’s most poignant character trait is frequently saying “nuts” instead of “surprising.” That’s not a good thing, by the way.

Final decision: this is more of a history textbook than a creative work. Find a better subject to teach first graders.

4. “Rainbow Magic.”

This book series certainly has a lot more sparkles than a certain magical treehouse did. Rachel and Kirsty, two best friends, find a number of fairies from Fairyland and save them from the horrible Jack Frost. I’ve never particularly cared for the two main characters. They don’t say anything interesting or funny—I would even accept it if they said “nuts.” Worst of all, the author has written over 200 of these books. They are all exactly the same: Jack Frost creates some problem, Rachel and Kirsty find the fairy of the day, and they solve the issue.

The only reason “Rainbow Magic” isn’t in fifth place is because I pity the protagonists. When I scrolled through the Rainbow Magic Wiki, I found a comment written by the user Dana the Drought Fairy. It reads, “Is anyone able to confirm that Jack Frost has an unhealthy obsession with feet? I recall him trying to take a picture of the girls’ feet in ‘Eva, the Enchanted Balls Fairy.’” I left the Wiki with more information than I had wanted.

In terms of content, I’d say it’s equal to “The Magic Treehouse.” But in terms of being human? After all of Frost’s antics, Rachel and Kirsty deserve a fourth place spot on this list.

3. “Junie B. Jones.”

I read perhaps two “Junie B. Jones” books, and that was all I needed to put this book series in third place. Five-year-old Junie B. curses out adults using egregious language like “stupid” and “dumb,” representing all the rebelling against authority that I aspire toward. Personally, I find her to be a feminist icon. Due to her influence, I realized that I could call my classmates stupid and still be a lady. I can sip tea with my pinky pointing up while cursing out adults. That’s what I call women’s rights.

But the series is only in third place because I haven’t read much of it. Sorry.

2. “Winx Club.”

The show features six main girls who train at a school for fairies and fight evil. The main characters were great, the villains were as dumb as Team Rocket, and I had an amazing time overall. My favorite character used to be Tecna, the fairy of technology, but I’m not sure why. Maybe I wanted to be as smart as her, though she also has little to no personality. That might say something about my first-grade self’s priorities.

However, most of the other fairies do have personality, which is what distinguishes this show from “The Magic Treehouse.” Flora is gentle and genuine, Stella is vibrant and prideful, and Aisha is practical and empathetic. Best of all, the main six girls have a fantastic friendship, and five of them have lovers. It must have been amazing for little me to pretend that I, too, had a soulmate. I’ve probably stood in the shower and pretended to talk to Musa at least once.

But here’s my biggest complaint: in the last season, the antagonist Icy is given a tragic backstory and a sister who was turned into a fox. Apparently, Icy is the princess of a planet and had wanted to save the world before she turned evil. In one of the later episodes, she redeems herself by helping Bloom save the Magic Universe. I’ll half forgive it, since it’s funny. But “Winx Club” isn’t in first place anymore. Instead, that position belongs to one really special show.

1. “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”

How could I not put it in first? It focuses on six main ponies, starting with Twilight Sparkle not seeing the value of having friends. Over the course of the first few episodes, she accidentally finds some very lovable ponies, encounters problems, and destroys everyone with the power of friendship. Time passed far too quickly when I was watching this show. Soon it was 4:00 a.m. and I was on the last episode. It only took that long because I had to rest and process how friendless I am. Besides that, it’s a weirdly fun show, and the episodes often derail in entertaining ways.

For one, there are a lot more than four recurring antagonists, unlike most of the media on this list (including “Winx Club”). Sometimes, the biggest antagonist is the struggle of throwing a party. Other times, there are villains who come back in later seasons. The most fun conflict was when money-obsessed dog-creatures kidnap Rarity; they never reappear after that episode. Or maybe Queen Chrysalis and her goons created the most entertaining conflicts. To be honest, all the villains used to terrify me, so I’m not quite certain why six-year-old me continued watching. I once woke up in a cold sweat because of them. Not a very girlboss moment.

Most importantly, this show has taught me a lot of lessons. For one, I’m accepting of more people. I haven’t been judgmental of anyone since the day I finished season nine. This includes students with unsavory test scores and freshmen who look like third graders. And now, it includes people who dress in fursuits of Apple Jack. Some people call them “furries,” but I call them “adorable horse-like companions.”

I hope this list brought back some long-forgotten memories, since it certainly did for me. Remember, this is all subjective. It is completely valid if you relate to Jack Frost’s love of feet or if you think Junie B. Jones is annoying. All your quirks are appreciated; just remember to give “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” a go.

After all, Stuy could use some magical pony power.