4 out of 4 stars
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It is not a particularly difficult task to find a children’s book about superheroes. After all, they’re everywhere; my 5-year-old cousin’s bookshelf is absolutely full of them. However, it is still very difficult to find a superhero book that is somehow different from all of the others. R. D. Base’s Toni The Superhero accomplishes this. Rather than tell the usual story of a young superhero going on an adventure, Base chooses to highlight all of the ordinary things that a superhero might do, such as reading, drawing, eating, and helping his (or her) mother clean.
I decided to review this particular book to see if it might be any help in teaching my younger cousins how to read better, and I found that his book has excellent educational value. The sentences were simple and repetitive, but interesting. My youngest cousin (the 1-year-old) began to recognize some words as similar, even if she couldn’t quite read them yet. Furthermore, she absolutely adored the pictures and spent several minutes staring at each page. My other cousin (the 5-year-old) reacted in the same way, even jumping up and down with excitement every time I agree to read him the book again. I loved reading Toni The Superhero because my cousins loved having it read to them; they loved the whole book, and so I loved the whole book. In fact, just the simple act of reading it to them made them want to read other books as well.
Another thing about this book that I very much enjoyed was that, because the author (and illustrator) pictured Toni doing chores rather than saving the world, the older of my cousins decided that he wanted to do chores as well, “like a superhero.” This book allowed him to see that superheroes don’t just save the everyone from bad guys all the time, but that they often do regular, seemingly unexciting things that children just like them do on a daily basis. This made my 5-year-old cousin feel as though he could be a superhero just like Toni, which, in turn, encouraged his little sister to follow in his footsteps. For once, it was not difficult to get them to clean up after themselves!
Yet another really cool thing about this book, for me, was the simplicity of the sentence structure. Because one of my cousins is mute, he has to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL). The easy sentences in this book allowed him to practice signing whole sentences (rather than just a word or two at a time) and also helped him practice translating from words from English into ASL and back again.
I rate this book a 4 out of 4 because of the educational value, beautiful pictures, and the smiles it put upon the faces of my younger cousins. I would recommend this book to any child who is just starting to read and who loves superheroes.
Toni the Superhero
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