It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! We are reading all of our favorite Christmas books and introducing some new ones as well. We had the pleasure of reading Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy over the last few days and I have our official review for you and an interview with the author as well!
Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy
Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen.
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge!
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life!
This is the first book of three in the ‘Reindeer flying Academy’ series. I read this with my children in one sitting and we all enjoyed it very much.
Ronaldo is a reindeer who dreams of being just like his hero Vixen–part of the North Pole Reindeer Team. Only the best reindeer will be chosen by Santa for the team. When it comes time for the Endurance Challenge during Saturday’s Flying School, Ronaldo dreams to win. He remembers his grandad’s advice,
“Don’t just think it! Imagine! See it, feel it, believe it!”
Will Ronaldo win the challenge and receive the Golden Wings?
Ronaldo has strong family support and a best friend named Rudi who became one of four favorite characters. Everyone could use a friend like Rudi! Ronaldo is nearly reluctant to heed his families advice at times, but may learn that they’re smarter than he thinks!
I thought this book was very inspiring and appreciated all the important lessons that influence young readers about standing up for yourself, trusting your loved ones, following your dreams, and believing in yourself. The story is well written, cute, and comical. The illustrations are perfect and offer breaks in the reading. When paired with the short chapters, this makes it an easy read for early chapter book readers.
Overall, I personally found this to be an encouraging book for all ages that my children adored. We’re looking forward to reading the other two books including the full-color illustrated edition. 4****
- Print Length: 109 pages
- Publisher: Maxine Sylvester; 1 edition (December 16, 2015)
- Publication Date: December 16, 2015
- Ages: 5-10
- Grades: 2-5
You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.
If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book for free!
Author Interview with Maxine Sylvester
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: I wrote my first book in the Ronaldo series, The Reindeer Flying Academy, three years ago. I followed up with The Phantom Carrot Snatcher one year later, and self-published Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza a few months ago. Some reviewers for the first book commented that they would have preferred colour illustrations. I liked the suggestion so recently published a second edition of The Reindeer Flying Academy in glorious colour. I think children will love the colour illustrations. The book is a perfect Christmas read.
(Click the covers to find these on Amazon)
Q: What made you decide to write children’s books?
A: I’m still a child myself! I get as excited as a five-year-old every time a new Disney film comes out. My illustrations are inspired by animation. My niece says I am in touch with my inner child. I think it’s an advantage as I naturally write for children.
Q: What are some of your favorite childhood books? (or one favorite)
A: My first reading books were Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and Paddington by Michael Bond. As I grew up I read anything by Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I also loved The Railway Children by E. Nesbitt.
Q: What influenced you to write Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy, and are any of your books influenced by your childhood?
A: I have to admit, I stole an idea from A.A. Milne! He wrote about the toys in Christopher Robin’s playroom. I wanted a reason to illustrate so decided to write a short story. I looked around my bedroom, and my favourite toy was a plush reindeer. I took it from there. Some incidents in the book were inspired by my childhood. Ronaldo has a different name to all the other reindeer and gets teased because of it. I was teased about my name. He also has to wear a hideous hat. I had one of those as well. Furry and with pom poms!
Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A: I have written three Ronaldo adventures, but there are four books. Two editions of The Reindeer Flying Academy are available, one has colour illustrations, the other has black and white.
I think my favourite book is the last one, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza. The characters are well-developed now, and I had a lot of fun with them. The book still makes me laugh even though I know what’s going to happen. I also have a soft spot for the ending of The Reindeer Flying Academy.
Q: What do you think makes a great children’s book?
A: I think values should be in there, but it’s important not to preach. Children are smart; you never want to talk down to them. I try to get a message across in a fun way. Ronaldo is a good role model for children. He’s kind, conscientious and brave, but never boring. He also has to overcome adversity and I think it’s good for children to see how he handles things. Needless to say, the stories need to be entertaining with lots of laughs and fun illustrations. The Ronaldo books have heart and I hope that children feel they are picking up a friend in a Ronaldo book. You never know what is going on in a child’s life, and books can provide comfort and inspiration.
Q: Do you create all of your own illustrations?
A: Yes, they take longer than the actual writing of the story. I trained in “cartoon art’ and was mentored by British cartoonist/, caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I did further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist/illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.
Q: What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?
A: As a self-published author on Amazon, it was quite easy; especially as my partner Mark does most of the technical stuff! I am hopeless. He say’s Facebook and Twitter are great tools for reaching people. We have had varying success with promotions. A lot of it is trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Q: Do you like to read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors and are there any that heavily influence your writing?
A: I read every night before going to sleep. I read all sorts! I’ve read all of Sidney Sheldon’s books and most of Lee Childs, Jack Reacher series. If ever I feel anxious or wracked with self-doubt, I read Dr. Wayne Dyer. His gentle words always encourage me. I think he’s a must for anyone in this industry!
I loved the Harry Potter books; they were like picking up old friends. I have so much respect for J.K. Rowling. The whole world waited with baited breath for her books and she never disappointed.
I am a total Disney geek and have just finished a book on Walt Disney. What a visionary! Walt Disney has always been my biggest inspiration. I think my stories come from a lifetime of watching Disney movies.
Q: Are you working on anything now and do you have any future projects planned?
A: I have just started writing the fourth book in the Ronaldo series – The Vixen Pederson Workshop. It will be ready by Christmas 2018.
Q: Can we expect more books in this children’s series?
A: Absolutely. I find as one book evolves, ideas for another book come to the surface. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is limitless!”
I’d like to thank Maxine Sylvester for participating in this interview.