4 out of 4 stars
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Toni The Superhero by R. D. Base is a charming book designed to be read out loud to children up to the age of 4 years. It is beautifully illustrated in vivid colours and the sentences are very short. Most follow the format ‘Toni likes to’, followed by an action. This is perfect for children of that age as they enjoy repetition and predictable patterns.
I love the reverse focus of this book. Usually the story would be about Toni saving the world with his superpowers. However, this author has no interest in that aspect of his life and centres instead on his day-to-day activities.
Toni’s lifestyle is very healthy. He eats fruit and vegetables, he takes exercise, he reads books, helps with the housework, gets his sleep, and is kind to animals. I particularly like how he interacts with other people, dancing with his mum as well as helping around the house and playing with his friends. In fact, this book is all about the important things that people should aim to achieve, rather than aspiring to be able to fly or lift lorries.
R. D. Base has actually made a better job of finding an ambassador than the United Nations did when they appointed Wonder Woman. I remember how angry I was when I found that young women were now supposed to aspire to having superpowers as well as being beautiful. Toni, on the other hand, has superpowers but aspires to being a worthwhile, healthy and loving human being. Eat your heart out, Wonder Woman.
Personally, I suspect that Toni isn’t a superhero at all, but is in fact a sweet little boy with a superhero costume. But don’t tell him that, or the child to whom this is being read. This is a secret that the adults can keep for their own enjoyment, along with Father Christmas and the tooth fairy.
I appreciated the way the swimming pool has ‘4ft’ written on the side to ensure that it is safe; I thought that was a nice touch. I also love the way nearly all of Toni’s activities are captured in the illustration on the book cover. I had fun linking them to their respective pages, so I’m sure that a child will get equal and possibly even more entertainment from it.
I have no criticisms of this book and am delighted to rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
Toni the Superhero
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