4 out of 4 stars
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Toni the Superhero by R. D. Base is a book that grows on you, making it the ideal bedtime story for the under-five age group. This is a book parents and carers could read over and over again every night (if your children are like mine were) knowing that it is both educational and fun. Toni’s superhero status may be more to do with his ability to demonstrate all the good qualities that parents wish to see in their children, rather than superpowers, but young children will be sure to identify with his cool cape and let their imaginations run wild as to what his superpowers may be.
Toni not only has an active life, he has many friends and does kind things such as saving cats. The story also shows how he likes to help with household chores and eat healthy food despite being a superhero. The story line flows naturally, children will be able to relate to the activities in the early part of the book and then the helpfulness and being healthy become more acceptable. Best of all, like all good bedtime stories, it ends with him going to sleep happily at the end of the story.
The illustrations by Debbie J. Hefke are bright, interesting and colourful. The text is simple, although probably more suited to reading along with, rather than learning to read for the very young. Some illustrations run over two pages and they contain enough details to hold the interest and capture the imagination of children while listening to the story. This book would also be enjoyed by older children who are learning to read and can relate to the everyday activities of Toni. The use of a repetitive simple sentence formula throughout the book makes it easy for young readers to work out the new words on each page.
There is no shortage of illustrated children’s books available today, some with complex themes and initially it I wondered how it would fare. However, after re-reading it a few times, I could see how a child would be able to relate to a superhero being just like them and follow Toni’s activities throughout the day. Particularly when many of the themes of children’s books seem aimed only to shock or entertain, this book has a meaningful message and can be used by parents and teachers to discuss the importance of each activity, from having friends, being kind to animals, being active and of course, helping at home.
I would recommend this book for homes and libraries for children under 8 and rate this book 4 out of 4 stars . As there are other books in the series, I am sure that Toni will become a feature of the imagination of many young children while parents, teachers and carers can use the many teachable moments reading the book to help children develop good habits.
Toni the Superhero
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