4 out of 4 stars
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There are so many children’s books on the market these days and the storylines have become very unique. The plots usually include a problem to be solved and a resolution, with a moral or lesson to be learned. This is not the case in Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base, although the story still serves an important purpose: teaching young children to read in a fun way.
Toni is a young superhero, but the book doesn’t focus on his special powers. Instead, the character is busy with regular, everyday chores and activities. Among other pursuits, Toni can be seen reading, dusting the house, helping his mother wash dishes, swimming, and eating. He may be a superhero, but the character also plays with his friends and has certain routines just like any other person. We all eat and sleep, even if some of us possess superhuman powers.
A superhero is a nice choice for the main character of a learn-to-read book as kids love characters with special abilities. In this story, it’s apparent that Toni is a superhero. He is shown wearing a superhero costume, cape, and eye mask. Although the main focus of the story is about Toni participating in “human” activities, he can also be seen flying. Children would easily be able to relate to the mundane tasks the character engages in. I particularly appreciated that the author depicted Toni in the same way as other children, when he is seen playing. For example, when Toni is at the playground or in the pool with other kids, he does the same things as the other kids (translate: no display of his special powers). I think children like to feel as if a superhero is “just like them” and would enjoy seeing the character do the same things they do on a daily basis – household chores, eating a meal, etc.
Each page contains a short sentence of simple words accompanied by a full-length illustration or, in some cases, an illustration stretched across two pages. This format is perfect for children who are just starting to read. It’s not important that there isn’t a traditional plot since the purpose here is to master reading and comprehending the words. Debbie J. Hefke’s appealing artwork clearly shows each activity being performed, which gives kids extra help when deciphering a particular word – for example, swimming.
This book has earned 4 out of 4 stars. It is the first installment in a planned series of books about this young superhero. The author has created a simple yet effective story with a likeable character. Although there is not a traditional plot, the concept of using short sentences with easily recognizable words and pictures is a great method to start young children on the road to reading independently.
Toni the Superhero
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