“Ronaldo: The Vixen Pederson workshop” by Maxine Sylvester

AKA: The review that did everything possible to not get written. It started when my e-reader wouldn’t connect to my computer. Odd. Nothing I did helped, so I did a factory reset. Cool, connects to the computer but won’t boot up without a download. So, I did that. Downloaded the proper apps, signed up for the proper things …and I can’t add files to the e-reader anymore, I have to purchase them through the app (I looked up how to just add files to the Kobo and nothing I found worked for me). Well. So I will be looking into an app for my tablet in hopes I can copy files onto that. But, what this all came down to is I had to read in snippets and spurts so it took me FAR longer than I would like to admit to read a kids book. (I work, so I don’t have as much time to spend around the computer, hence why I was trying so hard to get it on the e-reader.)

But, that also leads to the talent of Sylvester. Most books I can skip entire paragraphs and not lose anything of the story, but Maxine keeps her stories clipped and to the point that there are no lulls in her writing. Every sentence is just as important as the next. It leads a nice continuity instead of getting to a good part and having to spend three pages getting through filler.

I am not the target audience for her books (I will have another review for one of her books next week too) but I really appreciate what she conveys through her books.

Ronaldo, the reindeer, is this time whisked away to the North Pole (yes, that North Pole) to compete in a 4-day workshop with one of Santa’s reindeer. Once there everyone is split into teams of 4 and Ronaldo is separated from his best friend Rudi. He is teamed up with two other girls and a new comer Cupid. The little chubby reindeer is a horrible klutz and is seen frequently crashing into things and other people. Ronaldo is made leader of their small team and to lead by example he partners with Cupid.

Ronaldo learns a small secret about Cupid, one she doesn’t even really realize. It’s not that she’s a bad reindeer or just unable to learn …she can’t see. Reindeer never need glasses, maybe the occasional moose, but never a reindeer. So, Ronaldo, being a true leader and friend, does what he can to help Cupid. At the North Pole they met elves, and there was one elf in particular who always wore fancy, bright, fashionable glasses. With his help, they get Cupid in to an eye doctor and get her glasses.

People may not realize that this is still an issue. A friend’s young daughter recently got glasses and she was terrorized at school for it. So even something like a character like Ronaldo helping a friend get glasses, helping her get confident with them, and then everyone seeing past the “dorkiness” of it to see how amazing of a flyer Cupid actually was it amazing representation. When I told my friend’s daughter that I sometimes have to wear glasses too, and that glasses were actually pretty cool, she felt better about it. So if something so small as a kid seeing themselves reflected in a book character can make a difference, then it is proof we need books like this.

Like I said, I’m not the target audience, and I really love these books. I’m impressed that Sylvester doesn’t focus so much on the importance of Ronaldo “winning” the competitions he is put into, as much as the friendships, leadership, emotional, and impactful things that he chooses to do, or does not choose to do. And those are much more important than “winning”.

I recommend this, absolutely, to any kids. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, her stories have messages and themes that can be taken outside of the “holiday” setting and understood and enjoyed by everyone.

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