“They were unaware that by the time the sun had set, they would share another secret. One that was far more terrifying!”
It’s been a while since I did a children’s book review, so I’m very happy to give my review of the newest Ronaldo adventure by Maxine Sylvester! A long while back, I reviewed another book in the Ronaldo series, Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher, and was delighted with how much it lifted me up and gave me confidence in today’s fictional children’s stories. I’m very happy to say that Maxine’s newest adventure does not disappoint, and is just as perfect as I’d hoped it would be.
Ronaldo: The Vixen Pederson Workshop follows Ronaldo the reindeer as he prepares for a sleigh race. He’ll need to work with his team mates to get the top spot and win those Jingle Bells! However, the prize seems a little out of reach when Cupid joins the team – a clumsy reindeer with a secret. Can Ronaldo find out what it is and win the race with his team?
Before I even comment on the actual story, I really want to touch upon Maxine’s illustrations. It’s rare that you see an author whose talents go far beyond writing a story, and Maxine is a prime example of this. From individual drawings of characters to the creation of a whole map of her fictional world, Maxine’s illustrations really add to the story and helps it to stick in your mind a lot more. It’s really pleasant to turn each page and see a cute, detailed image showing a visual representation of what’s going on in the story at any point.
The story itself begins with immense excitement as Ronaldo thinks about seeing his ultimate hero, Vixen Pederson. It isn’t just Ronaldo who can’t contain his feelings; his dad seems to be just as excited as he is! I felt this emotion straight away – it reminded me of going to see one of my favourite bands for the first time, or going on a family holiday that I’d been excited about for weeks. Maxine’s story is instantly relatable for children, and we’re completely drawn into the adventure from the very first pages.
I loved the humour Maxine includes, and this reminded me a lot of the previous Ronaldo adventure I read. Little snippets of text such as this make Ronaldo a great read for parents too, and provide something they can relate to with their own children:
“Mum whipped the sugar bowl away before he had the chance to take anymore.”
Ronaldo and Rudi, his best friend, travel to Vixen Pederson’s workshop, and their excitement shows no sign of slowing down. I loved the description of their emotions, as well as that of their mode of transport. It made me want to travel on something so fancy! Maxine’s style of writing is perfectly suited to her audience, and her metaphors and onomatopoeia really bring the story to life further.
After a bumpy ride that almost causes Ronaldo to lose his head, they arrive at their destination. Their fear of the sleigh ride quickly turns back into excitement as they continue on their way and check into the place where they’d be staying for their trip; Frosty Towers. Maxine has created a whole collection of brand new, lovable characters, who help Ronaldo and Rudi on their way and enhances the adventure even more. I particularly liked Lulu and Jesper – two elves with unique personalities! Maxine has gone above and beyond once again to make the adventure even more memorable.
Another reindeer, Cupid, befriends Ronaldo and Rudi, and she explains how she lost her parents when she was young. I think details such as this could help any child who has lost a parent in the past, and a story which touches on subjects such as this can help a child feel that little bit of normality again, and that other people may be going through a similar scenario as them. Bonus points for this from me! The topic was approached very well, without turning the story too dark or making the story too saddening.
“With a gigantic leap, Ronaldo’s idol thundered into the air; the glossy black fur around his collar blowing in the wind like a television advert for healthy hair.”
Training for the sleigh race was a really nice part of the story. The characters all help each other to do their best, and encourage each other to try harder whenever they can. I feel like young readers can really take this sort of behaviour on board and apply it to real life situations in a school or home environment. I really liked Cupid’s character the more we got to know her; she’s quick yet clumsy, and it was entertaining to read the other characters’ reactions when they were trying to fathom out her flight path!
The story largely focuses on teamwork, which I think teaches a very crucial lesson for young readers. Maxine has clearly thought hard about how her audience can get the most out of this story, as well as making the whole adventure entertaining and memorable. I was curious to see whether all the training and practice Ronaldo and his friends went through would be enough for him to win the race and get the most sought after prize of all; Jingle Bells!
After a particularly wobbly training session, the grand prize seemed to be getting further and further out of reach for Ronaldo. The pair run into some trouble and things become a little more dangerous than they first anticipated. Were there really polar bears in the forest?! Maxine has not only created an uplifting story, but has thrown a spanner in the works to make us question things further. Would they find their way to safety in time? Are the Jingle Bells a little bit too out of their reach? I really felt for Ronaldo, especially seeing as he wanted the prize so badly!
The group of friends finally realise why things had been going so wrong for Cupid; she needed glasses! No matter how upset she was, it was so nice to see how all the other characters reacted. She was scared of being laughed at, but the others reassured her that they would help. Another topic which really affects children in the real world – hopefully this is another thing that young readers can take away from the book too.
“Young Cupid, it’s time for you to stand out from the crowd. There’s an amazing flyer in you, but you will never reach your potential if you can’t see where you’re going.”
As the race approaches, tension and nerves are running high. Can Ronaldo and Cupid work together to reach their goals? Will they be able to communicate effectively and listen to each other when they need to the most? Whether they win the race or not, that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourselves!
The ending of the story is so heartwarming, and teaches us so many lessons that we can keep with us for life – children especially. Ronaldo sticks up for his friends and together, they do their best to reach their potential. Maxine has really perfected the story, leaving us adults with things to think about, and younger children with some lessons they’ll keep with them for life.
The last Ronaldo adventure I read was really well received, and Maxine has done it yet again with her latest installment! As a lover of children’s stories, Ronaldo’s latest adventure has everything a good children’s book needs; a solid adventure, child-friendly humour and a collection of memorable characters that can be remembered from book to book.
Maxine’s description and storytelling seems to get better with each book, and I thoroughly enjoyed each part of Ronaldo’s latest adventure. The book teaches its readers a lot of life lessons, and each page is simply a joy to read. I particularly enjoyed how new characters are brought into the mix, and by the end of the story, they become some of the most loved. Again, I don’t have a negative point to make – if you have children who love to read, this adventure is definitely one for your bookshelf, especially so close to Christmas!
Thank you so much to Maxine once again, for giving me the opportunity to read and review the latest installment in the Ronaldo series! You can purchase your own copy of Ronaldo: The Vixen Pederson Workshop from Amazon, available on Kindle. You’ll also get Ronaldo: Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza included for free! Follow Maxine over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.
Would you like a children’s book review from me?
I’m a kid at heart and I’m currently in the process of getting my first children’s book published, so I’d happily review books of any genre. Get in touch with me by emailing your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. See my book reviews page for more details!