4 out of 4 stars
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Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base is an adorable children’s book about a young boy that is a superhero who does everyday things as well. Toni likes to dance, play, swim, clean, and sleep like every other child. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars because this book’s real superpower is the way that it encourages reading and vocabulary development.
I like the simplistic subject-verb-object composition of the sentences. This structure is easy for beginning readers to understand. Since each sentence changes only the ending infinitive phrase, it introduces new vocabulary words individually. This helps a child feel successful at reading even if the child struggles with the final word. The repetition of the subject and verb throughout the story improves sight word recognition. The child is able to read the first few words of the sentence easily because of the repetition before attempting the final word. With the illustrations as clues, the child will be able to identify the action.
The illustrations are vibrant and colorful. They depict the actions simply but thoroughly. For example, the page states that Toni likes to jump. On the illustration, there are multiple ways to jump. There are jump ropes, bouncy balls, riding toys, and stumps to walk across. The illustrations create a concrete association between the written word and the action.
The simple sentence structure also has a pleasant rhythm for a read aloud for toddlers. The sentence structure is the perfect length for the attention span of a typical child between the ages of 18 months and three years. A caregiver can develop a child’s attention span based on the child’s interest in the pictures on the page. As a child shows more interest, a caregiver can add descriptive words about the illustrations. If the child’s attention span has not yet developed, the caregiver can easily continue the story by focusing on the action words. Either way promotes receptive language skills and vocabulary development.
The book implies that everyday actions are superhero qualities. This is a great way to develop a young child’s sense of self-worth and promote self-esteem. Seeing Toni dressed as a superhero while he is eating, playing, and cleaning shows young children that being a superhero is different than fighting villains. Being a superhero is being responsible and making good choices. Every child can be a superhero like Toni. I strongly recommend this book for any preschool or toddler classroom or caregiver.
Toni the Superhero
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