This was another book review by request, which makes me incredibly excited. Especially since this was the first children’s book we’ve been asked to review. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the book, I was just happy she thought of our little page! It is a larger chapter book, with a small picture every page or so. It was an ebook, Kobo said it was about 80-some odd pages, and I’m heartbroken that my Kobo is only black and white because apparently this was a full colour version. The book was written AND illustrated by Maxine Sylvester, which is a feat! And according to the back page, there are several in the series!
As the title suggests, it’s a Christmas themed story. She has built a world around the mythology of Santa’s Reindeer, but taken it several steps further than the “Rudolph” movie we all grew up with. Instead of living in caves, everyone lives in houses, and hold steady jobs outside of being Santa’s Reindeer. These kinds adaptations always make me happy because I think it is easier for the younger generations to relate to, and make the message she’s trying to get across easier to understand.
All the Reindeer in their town are named after the famous Reindeer, even the name “Cupid” was making a comeback. But our main character was named after someone else completely (I’m pretty sure it’s after a soccer player, but she said football, but I read her Bio and she’s from London England). Due to this, poor Ronaldo gets teased about his name, (as a kid who grew up with a strange name, my heart goes out to him) but in this book, it doesn’t slow him down. Bullies will be bullies; which is another thing I really liked about the book – Ronaldo gets bullied, but he remembers being taught to believe in himself, and through that he manages the biggest and scariest grunt he’s ever done, and scares off the bullies. Non-violent. I believe a well timed punch isn’t to be reprimanded, but if there is a non-violent way to deal with a bad situation, to take that. Ronaldo’s grunt sends the bullies scurrying, and sometimes, that’s all it takes.
This story, as it says in the title, is about the Flying Academy, where all Reindeer learn how to fly! It’s absolutely adorable, and I was actually impressed that she went through the mechanics of how they flew. It wasn’t just, “he jumped up and started to fly”, Ronaldo mentally goes through the steps, lifting his nose, running as fast as he can, tucking in his front legs to make sure he gets better height, and using his tail like a plane rudder/ailerons.
This day in ‘flying school’ is the great endurance competition, one only the great Vixen holds the record for! Not to ruin any of the story, Ronaldo uses what his Grandfather taught him, to imagine, to see it, to feel it, and to believe in himself, to power through the tough endurance race!
This is a children’s book through and through, and even though I wasn’t the target audience, I still found myself laughing at some of the antics. I really do think this is a wonderful book, and I hope she gets the recognition she deserves for it! I would love to get these books for a couple kids in my life.