Ronaldo Rules by Simon Mugford & Dan Green

Ronaldo Rules – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: bold, dramatic, factual, clear & direct.
Children’s book title: Ronaldo Rules (Football Superstars)
Children’s author: Simon Mugford.
Genre: Children’s nonfiction.
Illustrated by: Dan Green.
Published by: Welbeck Publishing Group.
ISBN: 9781783125333
Recommended for children aged: 7-11.
First published: Paperback January 2020.
This children’s book is ideal for: reluctant readers who are interested in football.

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Our review:

Heroes and numbers are the only things that make modern football intelligible and this book has one universally-known hero and thousands of numbers jumping out of every page.

‘Stratospheric’ is the ideal word to describe modern footballers’ levels of pay and fame. Apart from the magnificence of their feats on the pitch they are only ever seen stepping like delicate gazelles from the team coach before a game, in their spotless track-suits, huge sun-glasses, and earphones, their lives gated off and controlled by the clubs who pay them weekly more than most people will see in ten years.

It was not always so. A photograph exists of Jimmy Dugdale, the Aston Villa half-back, getting off a bus outside the ground before a match. He is smoking a Woodbine and wearing a cheap mac, just like most of the fans around him. A few months previously he and ten of his mates had beaten (or, more accurately, beaten up) the legendary Busby Babes of Manchester United in the 1957 Cup Final.

In 1968 I was a young man living in Manchester. United were kings of Europe and City were First Division champions. Yet it was quite normal to see George Best tootling around town in his E-Type on a night out. If you knew where to go you could probably buy him a drink and have a natter. George was a flashy player but Colin Bell at City was better. A team of Colins would always beat a team of Georges. He was the best English player of the last fifty years. And you could often see him jogging up and down Withington Road, in the quiet ordinary suburbs of Manchester, in a track-suit most charitably described as ‘worn.’ If you don’t believe me, news film of him doing it exists on Youtube somewhere.

The next generations matched Kenny Dalglish against Bryan Robson and Dennis Bergkamp vs Roy Keane. But for children of the last decade, Ronaldo is a rare combination of styles – steel, guile, power, pace, trickery, and drive. Ronaldo Rules is a book about a player who can appeal to all.

Ronaldo Rules example page 1

Using Ronaldo Rules in the classroom

There are lots of opportunities to use this book in cross-curricular topic work. The statistics and fact boxes lend themselves to maths-related activities. The clear and well-illustrated text will appeal to reluctant readers, making this an ideal book for intervention group reading, and as an impetus for nonfiction writing, including biographies, presentations and non-chronological reports.

Ronaldo Rules example page 2

Our verdict

Everything a football-mad youngster might want is here: bold, dramatic art-work, factual information in clear and direct prose and page after page of biography and statistics charting Cristiano Ronaldo’s stellar career.

Many thanks to Welbeck Publishing for a review copy.

If you like Ronaldo Rules you might also like Messi Rules by Simon Mugford, Sterling Rules by Simon Mugford, Unbelievable Football: The Most Incredible True Football Stories You Never Knew by Matt Oldfield, Football School Season 1: Where Football Explains the World by Allex Bellos and 40 Inspiring Icons: Fantastic Footballers: Meet 40 game changers by Jean-Michel Billioud.

Why not have a look at our books for KS1 or books for KS2

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About Laurence Inman

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Laurence is an actor, poet, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, cartoonist, public speaker, retired lecturer, and former English teacher. IMDb | Linkedin | Reviews by Laurence Inman