2 out of 4 stars
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As a children’s book, Toni the Superhero is a simple piece of writing adorned with colorful illustrations. With one basic sentence per page, we learn what Toni likes to do from day to day. These activities include actions that all children relish, including swimming, drawing and running. I understand that simplicity is important for children, especially to keep them engaged, but this book falls a little flat.
Toni is a superhero. Upon being introduced to Toni, we see an illustration of him flying through the sky. He has a superhero outfit kitted out with a cape and a mask, but other than that, he has no other superhero qualities. I appreciate the pull of a superhero character to children, which is why I would have liked to have seen more to back up that persona. As someone who likes to help with chores, eats healthy food, and is always happy, Toni is a fantastic model for parents to build their children’s behavior on. But I’m not sure the book is advanced enough to believe that those are superhero qualities.
There is no excitement in the narrative. Children need to be captivated by a book, and with no characters besides Toni, this becomes a little difficult. If this book is to be read to children by parents, it is up to the reader to involve their children by asking questions about the illustrations and text. The narrative is not gripping enough. I feel like this is a tool to teach children how to read with simple sentences and words, but there is not enough substance to involve them further. As a learning tool, however, I do think that with the accompanying illustrations it is a great way for children to learn how to read.
The illustrations are colorful and interesting which definitely helps to keep the interest of a child. I find that the book rests on the shoulders of the artwork rather than the narrative. But for a children’s book, that is par for the course. The illustrations tell us more about the story than the simple sentences do, and I love that most of Toni’s activities are outside. These days, with technology, children tend to spend a lot of their time watching television or playing on tablets. It’s an important message that kids can go outside to play and have just as much fun.
As a reading aide, Toni the Superhero hits the mark with its simple sentences and words. The most advanced word we come across is “terrific”, and that’s a fun word to learn to read. This is the first book in a series, and as such, I would hope that the characters and story develop a little more in the succeeding books. Unfortunately, for the first one, I was slightly indifferent. Because of this, I give this book 2 out of 4 stars. With almost all of the sentences starting with "Toni likes to..." and without any stimulating words, I would struggle to see a child being absorbed enough to enjoy it. I would, however, recommend this book to children who are learning to read at the most basic level. The illustrations help the child to guess what the word is, and ultimately learn it.
Toni the Superhero
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