4 out of 4 stars
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Toni the Superhero is a simple and engaging learning tool for young children entering the stage of literacy. This book by R.D. Base, the first of a series following young Toni, serves as an introductory phase in which young readers can familiarize themselves with the character, the appearance of simple sentences and repetitive words, and the notion that some stories spend time introducing people rather than jumping into the plot with only names.
Base's short children's book is built on a learning format. She carefully structures the book with
beginning each sentence, which becomes an auditory cue as well as a visual one. Kids will learn to recognize these three words by hearing them several times, then they can observe the illustrations provided to determine how the sentence will end. For example, a page statesToni likes to
, showing an image of him at a pool (Base, 15).Toni likes to...
Overall, I believe this book deserves all 4 out of 4 stars. While the title Toni the Superhero does suggest to a child that s/he will be reading an action-filled story with vivid imagery of Toni using awe-inspiring powers, it takes a different approach. Rather, Base uses a proven childhood favorite, pairs that with easy-to-comprehend sentences and pictures of Toni doing regular activities just like the reader does, and somehow manages to engage the young reader to the point where there is no complaint - or even curiosity, in my daughter's case - about why the boy does not fight crime.
It seems ingenious to take something so extraordinary as a superhero and show that the daily life, the not-so-super stuff, is the stuff that Toni prefers to do! Subliminally, it applauds children for being normal and for actively participating in things such as housework and physical activity. These are things we adults forget to acknowledge as important milestones in child development. The book shows no superhuman acts performed by Toni, which suggests that the thing that makes him super is the same thing that would make any child feel amazing and powerful: positivity, activity, and productivity.
As a test, after completely reading the story once to my preschool-aged daughter, I began from the beginning and asked if she could tell me the boy's name. From there, I pointed out his name as we read together, her completing the sentences as we went. I then told her how each time we say
, the same words are on every page. She quickly understood the order of the words as I pointed them out. Not exactly reading them, but learning the idea that the word I pointed at symbolized a word she said. R.D. Base hit the nail on the head with this one! She truly understands that to learn something so complex as a written language, a system needs to be implemented. I highly recommend this book, and those to follow, to anyone involved in the literacy of children!Toni likes to
Toni the Superhero
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