Annotated Rainbow Brite Fan Fiction

by Leila Sales

Rainbow Brite fanfic front cover

Have you ever read Rainbow Brite fanfiction made up by a three-year-old girl and narrated to her teenage babysitter? Well, you’re about to. This is the first of five stories that I came up with in the year 1987. My babysitter Bret did the transcribing because I couldn’t hold a pen yet.

Below, I’ve annotated my story for you in the hopes it will make some kind of sense.

The Adventures of Leila in Rainbowland
Leila Sales Publishing Co.
By Leila Sales and Bret

“A true landmark in children’s literature. Stunning.” — New York Times Book Review

“Sales is at the top of her game. Remarkable.” — Los Angeles Times

[I’m sure it seems like major newspapers were lining up to laud my infantile fan fiction, but in fact, these review quotes were actually written by Bret. 26 years later, the New York Times Book Review would, in fact, go on to review a book that I’d written. Bret was prescient in that regard. Sadly they did not use the word “stunning.”]

Comments by readers:
1. “A truly fabulous collaboration.” — Daddy S. [This blurb is from my dad, clearly. Side note: I have never in my life referred to him as “Daddy.” The “S.” presumably stands for “Sales,” but if I called him “Daddy Sales” to his face, he would have to conclude that I was a changeling.]
2. “A great, nicely written story.” — Emily V. [I do not remember who this is.]

Leila’s Song
[Why don’t more authors start their books with songs? Epigraphs are so played out. Songs are a really great way to “hook” the reader right from page one.]

Leila is pretending to be Rainbooow Briiiiight…Oh yes, Bret is pretending to be Red Butler.
[Red Butler was one of the Color Kids, and he was Rainbow’s right-hand man. I believe he was male because Hallmark was trying to get little boys interested in this show. Good try, Hallmark.] Yes sir, yes sir, yes sir. And on a sunny day I took a trip to Rainbowland to see all the real persons.
[Even at a young age, it’s clear that I spent too much time with stories. You can tell that I honestly believed the persons who I lived with and went to school with and met in YMCA swim class were fake, whereas “all the real persons” were off living in Rainbowland, where I bet they never had to take swim classes.]
I rode on Starlite’s back, yes sir, yes sir…this can be a long song on its side.
And goodbye for now, for this is the end of my song, so goodbye for today, I’ll see you in October.

Story One
Not so long ago, there was a 3 year old girl named Leila. She had two parents, Amy and Michael. Leila liked to watch Rainbow Brite on TV. [This is all true.]

Over the summer, Leila got to travel to Rainbowland. [This is not true.] She also traveled all over the solar system to save Rainbowland and the world! [See previous note.]

Starlite had to find a replacement for Rainbow Brite. [Starlite was Rainbow’s horse. He’s all white, with a rainbow mane, and he could literally gallop on rainbows. He’s the best.] She was going away for the summer to visit her grandparents and go to school. Starlite knew Leila Sales loved Rainbowland, so he picked her for the job.

One day, Leila’s parents went to the store to get her some new furniture. Bret came over to see Leila. [I meant “babysit Leila.” Maybe I didn’t understand that Bret got paid to see me.] Suddenly, chimes sounded. Brett and Leila went out to the backyard. Starlite and Orin were there!!! [Orin is a side character in the Rainbow Brite series. Don’t worry about him.] Starlite said, “Leila, journey with us to Rainbowland. You will be back in a flash.” Leila and Bret hopped on Starlite and flew up into the sky. [Sayonara, parents. You will never figure out where your toddler and her adolescent babysitter went.]

When Leila and Bret got to Rainbowland they found out Murky and Lurky had stolen all the rainbowlite crystals. [Murky and Lurky were the show’s buffoonish bad guys, motivated by the all-consuming, unsubstantiated desire to make the world have less color. I was terrified of them and sometimes could not sleep, knowing that they were out there.] After getting out of a perilous pit, Leila, Bret, Starlite, and Orin got on a spaceship and headed towards Mercury to find the crystals.

When Leila, Bret, Orin, and Starlite arrived on Mercury, they put on their oxygen tanks. They were all very tired so they took a nap. Leila remembered Murky saying, “I’ll get that belt yet, Wisp.” [Time for some Rainbow Brite backstory. At the start of the series, Rainbow was just a normal little girl named Wisp. She was brought to a dark land and her quest was to restore color. We knew it was her quest because a few times throughout this episode she said, “But it’s my quest!” which is something that my mother still says to me today when she has to go to the grocery store to pick up avocados or something. While she’s in this dark land — which, as you may have guessed, eventually becomes the foretold Rainbowland — Rainbow finds the Color Belt, which has the magical property of producing colors. This is complicated. Try to keep up.]

When the gang woke up they saw some weird animals with three eyes having a party. The Mercurian animals were having a “jump rope limbo contest.”

“Are you sitting on any crystals or are any in your boxes?” asked Leila.

“We put them in the sink, to wash the dishes.” [Who the fuck uses Color Crystals to wash dishes? They’re not Palmolive. What is wrong with these Mercurians?]

“Are they still there?” asked Leila.

“Yes, but you have to hurry for get them!” [Because otherwise they are going in the dishwasher, and you’ll be shit out of luck.]

Leila got the crystals and saved the day!!!!!!!!

The End of Story One

[I’m sorry if you were looking for a more substantive dénouement. That’s all there is.]

Leila Sales is the author of the novels This Song Will Save Your Life, Past Perfect, and Mostly Good Girls. She lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her @LeilaSalesBooks