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text 2018-12-18 23:24
24 Festive Tasks: Door 18 - Winter Solstice / Yuletide, Task 3 (Book Cover Herd of Reindeer)


... well -- and a bunch of boars.  Can't let this one go without a bow to Sir Terry, after all!


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review 2017-05-20 21:44
Book Review of Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester
Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy - Maxine Sylvester,Maxine Sylvester

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license and becoming one of Santa's reindeer, just like his hero, Vixen.


In the first adventure in the Ronaldo series, the second year flying cadets face their toughest ever flying test – The Endurance Challenge. Will Ronaldo be victorious and lift the silver cup? Or will mean brothers Dasher, Comet and Prancer ruin his chance for success?


Review 5*


This the first book in a new chapter book series aimed at 5-10 year olds. I loved it!


Ronaldo is a fantastic character. He is a young reindeer, trying to follow in the footsteps of his Granddad and his hero, Vixen, as a cadet in the Reindeer Flying Academy. He is determined to become one of Santa's reindeer. I really liked his determination, perseverance and courage.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author with no expectation of a positive review.


First off, I would like to say that I love the cover. It captures the story perfectly. Secondly, the story was completely entertaining. There are some interesting characters to go with the story and one of my favourites (besides Ronaldo) is his best friend Rudi. He is funny, kind and sweet, though he would probably deny it.


The story is short, but it is full of action. It also full of educational tit bits about hygiene, keeping warm in freezing weather, building confidence, perseverance and determination. There is also a little bit about bullying. I found it a joy to read. Being a chapter book, it is perfect for a child to read on their own (depending on reading ability and age of course), and will keep them hooked. If you have a child/children with short attention spans, it would be easy to read a chapter or two with them before bedtime. I loved the Endurance Challenge scene as I love hot chocolate too, so I could imagine Ronaldo flying around thinking about it keeping him warm; I know it keeps me warm on cold winter nights. The story is also peppered with humourous events that will thoroughly entertain the young reader. There are also illustrations of the characters and the events that are extremely well drawn and compliment the book perfectly. Ronaldo learns a valuable lesson in the story and, hopefully, the child reading it will too. I must admit that I did feel sad when I reached the end of the book. Not because it ended sadly (because it didn't), but because the story had finished. I am now looking forward to reading more of Ronaldo's adventures when I have a chance.


Maxine Sylvester has written a fabulous chapter book. I love her imagination. I also love her writing style, which is fast paced but not rushed, it also has a lot of warmth and humour woven into it and is easy for a child to follow. The flow is wonderful and kept me turning the pages. I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.


I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 5-10, but as this book can be read to children younger than this by their parents, I also recommend this book to children aged 3 upwards. I also recommend this book to adults who love reading chapter/middle grade books. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-03-19 00:00
The Raven and the Reindeer
The Raven and the Reindeer - T. Kingfisher So this is pretty much a creepy Nordic mythology retelling of Snow Queen except with lesbians. I was a fan. It was also really funny, and the characters felt well built and real. I loved all the talking creatures.
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review 2016-10-24 00:00
The Raven and the Reindeer
The Raven and the Reindeer - T. Kingfisher The Raven and the Reindeer is Ursual Vernon's (under her 'grown-up book author' pen-name of T. Kingfisher) retelling of The Snow Queen. It's fantastic, bloody, and dark without loosing the magic that is fairy tales. Vernon has a kind of no-nonsense, logic based method to her storytelling that appeals strongly to me. She also manages to incorporate animals in a way that makes perfect sense for those animal types, her raven feels very raven-y and her reindeer are very reindeer-y, yet still makes them unique characters- both archetypes and characters if that makes sense. This style is well-applied in this version of The Snow Queen.

This story follows the plot of the original Snow Queen pretty much verbatim. If you're unfamiliar with it, or only know Disney's version (though honestly, Disney's is so far from the original it might as well be an original story but I'm not going there, I swear I'm not. I'll never stop if I get started), Gerta and Kay are childhood friends and as they age up, sweethearts. One day the Snow Queen comes and Kay goes with her; having been infected by the ice and drawn to the perfection of the Snow Queen. Gerta goes to rescue him. Along the way, she meets many different people (often women) who help and hinder her journey in various ways. In this version she picks up a few travelling companions. There is a raven whose name is Sound of Mouse Bones Crunching Under the Hooves of God, shortened to Mousebones though he claims after the journey it's going to be sound of Frozen Mouse Bones Crunching Under the Hooves of God and ,oh, do I love him. There's also the robber girl Janna, whose role is much expanded in this version.

The Snow Queen is one of my favorite fairy tales. I love it for many, many reasons, though the original Hans Christian Anderson is heavily influenced by Christianity there is enough under that to entice me. I love the many, many retellings of the story that are out there, including Frozen even if I moan about how it's so very distantly related to the original. One of the things that I really enjoyed about this version is how Kingfisher doesn't ignore Anderson's Christian influences, but she weaves them into the story along with older traditions to create a wonderful cultural web.

I found myself thinking about winter spirits in this book and it made me wonder how much C.S. Lewis was influenced by Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen when he wrote The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. There are definite similarities between the White Witch and the Snow Queen, especially in how they interact with Edmund and Kay. On the other hand, I wonder if there is an older tale of a winter queen that both Anderson and Lewis drew from. This has very little to do with this particular book, but the book is what made me wonder.

I did find myself wishing that the book had explored some of the self-loathing that Kingfisher gives Gerta in this story. She's a very mild type of girl, and not quite self confident and while I can see that part of the story is her gaining of the self-confidence, I wish it had been explored just a little more. That minor wish aside, it's a really good book about love and figuring out what you are worth. The character of Kay, who is essentially in the princess roll (i.e. he needs to be rescued and is Gerta's reward for succeeding) in the original tale, isn't much expanded in this book but his cruelty to Gerta is the cruelty of indifference which in part leads to her lack of self-confidence.

This last bit is a bit spoilery, but I want to include it. This version of the story is a LGBT retelling. Gerta doesn't end up with Kay, her romance builds through the later half of the book and it's a lovely, realistic one. The two women grow closer together as they work together to rescue Kay and it's one of the things I appreciate about the book. Children grow up, childhood sweethearts grow apart, and real love happens when you work with someone. I am a little amused that apparently my theme for October's books is lesbians. This is the seventh (out of fourteen, though technically one of those seven books is a sequel) book I've read this month that incorporated sapphic themes in some form or another.
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review 2016-07-16 00:00
Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights: The Story of the Christmas Symbols
Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights: The Story of the Christmas Symbols - Edna Barth,Ursula Arndt (Illustrator),Ursula Arndt A good primer for children to learn the origins/meanings of many traditional Christmas symbols. Informative.
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