4 out of 4 stars
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Being a beginner’s book for the earliest type of readers as young as four, Toni the Superhero is one of those books that I may truly recommend. For one thing, the book ingrains in the mind of the children certain basic values all societies uphold.
Almost all children know what a superhero is. In this book, the superhero is redefined as not just someone who stops buildings from toppling over or keeping aliens in check, but someone who is willing to do their chores and can still find time to enjoy life. A superhero is someone who helps, sweeps, and dusts, and yet is capable of playing, swimming, and running. The story doesn’t even start with the superhero, but starts with Toni as his ordinary self.
Secondly, Toni the Superhero keeps the whole story down to 23 words a child could use. This makes it easy for the very young reader to handle. The emphasis is on verbs, probably because action words stick more in the minds of children than other forms. All in all, 16 verbs are used by the author. By going through these words again and again in the story (children love reading things over and over!), mastery of these become imminent.
Thirdly, the book encourages active parental participation in the child’s reading development. As parents and guardians will discover, each page (except for two) has only one sentence in it and the sentence is very simple. The pictures would enable the parent to “fill in the blanks” of the page that has only one simple sentence in it and to elaborate from there. Interestingly, two of the pages have pictures that lead to the next page; hence there is a small break in monotony.
Lastly, I find the pictures very colorful, action-oriented, and superbly appealing. I find the connected musical notes in the picture where Toni was singing quite fetching.
On the other side of the coin, the book’s heavy reliance on parental participation through the pictures might not appeal to many other parents. For one thing, although it is said that “pictures paint a thousand words,” many parents do not have the time nor the skill to elaborate on a picture and fish out its meanings and nuances. They would prefer books in which the sentences and pictures jump out of the page without their assistance. In this way, they would be able to allow the children to read on their own.
All in all, I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. Given this, I look forward to seeing the next installment of the Toni the Superhero series.
Toni the Superhero
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