4 out of 4 stars
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The author, R. D. Base, certainly knows what appeals to young children. Toni, the Superhero, is written for children from age 1 to 5 years old. The intent of the book is as a beginning reader book. This is the first book in a planned series for the beginning reader. This book introduces Toni as the main character for the future series.
The plot is showing “what Toni likes to do when he’s not busy saving the world.” The text carries the plot with one basic sentence structure. The plot is broadly enhanced by the illustrations of Debbie Hefke. The drawings are colorful, and action packed. Children will enjoy the visuals in each detailed picture. The pictures create opportunities to develop a child’s speaking abilities as the parent and child read this book together.
I like the values and attitudes that are portrayed in this book. The story promotes healthy habits for children especially through the visuals. For example, several pictures show Toni engaging with household chores. He is doing so happily and cooperatively. These pictures show the value of being a member of a family and contributing to the family, even as a child. However, it also shows Toni in the ordinary activities of a child such as playing at the park and at the swimming pool with his friends. Throughout the book, you know Toni is a superhero because of the clothes he is wearing but he is involved in non-superhero activities. In his mind, Toni is a superhero but, he is a normal kid. I think children of this age will really relate to the dual images that are in this story.
This book should have an enormous appeal for preschool and kindergarten teachers. The story could be a springboard for discussions on many topics. For example, a verbal discussion on what foods are good to eat and why. The sentences are simple and show action. These could be used as pantomimes by students to be guessed by other students. They would act the pages. Students could hold up sentences strips to reinforce the reading lesson to match the action. This book could also be used as a creative tool to personalize learning for new young readers. After reading about Toni, a parent or teacher could have students make a book about what they like to do. The book would serve as a model for his/her own book. In a classroom, each child could draw and write on page about what he/she like to do and then a class book could be compiled.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The writing is all correct. I love the subtle messages that the book sends forth on family values and cooperation. I love the interactive possibilities in both oral dialogues and creative reading and writing that can come from this story as a model. I look forward to further adventures of Toni in the upcoming series.
Toni the Superhero
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