4 out of 4 stars
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Toni The Superhero by R.D. Base is a delightful children’s book with gorgeous illustrations. This pre-K level book was written by a parent to help her own son learn to read. The author uses simple repetitive text and large print to accomplish that goal. I was thrilled to see that the main character is an African American boy. Today’s children’s books are sorely lacking in diversity at this level. The character of Toni is presented as a good role model and in an appealing manner for young boys. Given the literacy crisis in America a series of pre-K level books is a wonderful thing to see. I do wish I could see it in print form and I was very happy to see that there are three more books in series.
Debbie Hefke’s illustrations are bright and colorful. Bold primary colors and realistic people and animals fill the pages. The full color pages draw the eye and will hold the eye of very young children. The large black text is a plain easy to read font that stand out on the page.
The illustrations will encourage discussion. On one page “Toni likes to help.” It shows Toni helping with the dishes on one page, “Toni likes to sweep on the next page, and “Toni likes to dust” on another page. This will encourage parents to show a character helping with housework and explain the roles of everyone helping in the household to the child. Books with built in lessons are important to children of preschool age.
It should be noted that this book is written for beginner readers just learning sight words. The concepts of four to five word sentences and repetitive text are important in the learning process. This book is the perfect length for a three to four year old child just learning to read. The illustrations contain objects easily identified by young children which expands the learning experience. For instance the parent can point to a ball, a book, or a cat and say “What’s that?” encouraging the child to identify it. The learning potential is expanded is expanded by the illustrations.
The children’s book market is a tough one. It is rare to see a book that fits a specific niche perfectly. This book features a great role model, diverse characters, wonderful illustrations and is appropriate for it’s stated reading level. For these reasons I rate Toni The Superhero 4 out of 4 stars.
Toni the Superhero
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