4 out of 4 stars
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What child doesn’t dream of being a superhero? The story of Toni the Superhero by R. D. Base is designed for those just starting to discover the power of reading. Toni is described as “a little boy with extraordinary powers, but he likes to do ordinary things too!” The book has vivid, colorful pictures of Toni doing his ordinary things like reading, coloring, and helping around the house.
Designed for ages 0-4 this book uses a repetitive sentence structure that is frequently used in schools to teach reading fundamentals. The author’s choice of activities for Toni convey everyday things that many young children do or see. This helps them, with the picture cues, begin recognizing words. Longer words can be used to form phonemic awareness and as children learn the story they can reread it again and again to improve their fluency. Simple sentence structure also makes it an ideal beginner book. The story is short enough to hold a youngsters attention but is long enough to provide adequate reading practice.
I like that Toni’s group of friends includes both boys and girls. A wide variety of looks and styles are represented. Children can find someone who looks like them in the story and can help them maintain interest. Children may also be able to identify ways that they are like superheroes because they too enjoy the things Toni and his friends are doing.
There is a promise of more books to follow with ideas I know parents would like to see their kids adopt, such as, a love of vegetables or a love of reading. It can also be used as a way to speak with children about chores, friends, or being helpful. It is obvious that Toni is a good role model and all children need those.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it for those emerging readers. Hopefully they will find a friend in Toni and want to continue to read about his adventures. I would have loved to learn more about Toni’s super powers. While I see a lot of merit in showing him doing his ordinary things, only a picture of him flying indicates he is not just a regular boy in a costume. I imagine children will have many questions about Toni’s special gifts. How did he get superpowers? What else can he do? The author has not provided any clues but is perhaps saving them for a later book. I’m sure little readers will be excited to find out!
Toni the Superhero
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