4 out of 4 stars
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“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”
― C.S. Lewis
Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base is an illustrated children’s book that revolves around the life of the eponymous hero of the story who is actually an unconventional superhero for many reasons. He is first introduced in the narrative by the author as an everyday guy, and then the next series of pictures shows him doing wonderful things. What is interesting about these things is that they are not “unique” and do not require superhuman abilities, but are things that everyone can and should do. The author focuses on how the “superhuman” qualities of the superhero manifest while he performs everyday activities. He is shown as someone who likes to read, who saves animals, who likes to help etc. Toni is therefore shown performing a variety of regular activities as a “superhero”. This book is perfect for children of ages from zero to four.
What is a superhero? Is he/she someone who goes around “saving” people but is he/she someone we know, someone who has a good heart and bestows kindness upon others. In my opinion, the way the author explores the idea of “the ideal superhero” is almost radical. It is interesting to note that the superhero of this story is not white or muscular. He doesn’t possess certain qualities that we associate with traditional superheroes. What I love about this book is how the transgressive approach of the author makes this book an unconventional children’s story.
The title of the book is quite simple yet effective, and the bright and colourful cover of the book will attract the target audience. I found both of them quite appealing, and the author has definitely done a brilliant job on the title and cover. I also really liked the fact that the font isn’t too complex for the child to understand. The author has used the most basic font possible, and that makes this book even more attractive.
One of the greatest strengths of the book is the illustrations and the fact that they go so well with the writing. The illustrations are bright, colourful and aesthetic while the writing is minimalistic. The author has refrained from using too many words which would work for this particular demographic. Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for the creativity and uniqueness of the author.
Toni the Superhero
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