4 out of 4 stars
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Boris Pasternak declares, “Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.” This quote describes concisely the children’s story Toni The Superhero. Toni, the protagonist, performs no great feats or difficult nor arduous tasks. He performs commonplace, routine tasks that any child can safely and easily perform. The only exception is when he is flying through the air after his introduction.
I believe that magical moments occur when the ordinary tasks or moments in life are done with extraordinary touches of love, kindness, and creativity. Toni, a small boy, cheerfully does mundane tasks like washing the wares, dusting and sweeping the floor. Toni, however, is not all work and no play, he is an outgoing kid who enjoys interacting with other children. Toni thus enjoys the typical aerobic activities like jumping, running and swimming. He also likes to sing and dance as well as to eat and sleep.
This straightforward narrative provides an unconscious guide to children of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle a balance between work, play, proper nutrition and rest. This children’s book is geared for kids ages 0 to 4 years, and it is thus deliberately short and colorful to hold their attention. Debbie Hefke illustrations are eye-catching, cheerful, well-proportioned and well matched to the lexicon of the story.
The book consists of approximately thirty pages of sixty-seven words containing one or two syllables. This choice of diction makes the narrative ideal for new readers. The frequent repetition adopted in successive lines is also appropriate and serves as a reinforcement for new words learned in a child’s vocabulary. The diction of familiar and straightforward words encourages children to build their reading skills and feel confident in this endeavor.
The one element, I disliked was the cover illustration showing Toni holding his pet cat in his left-hand and then the cat holding a plate of fruits. I disliked the composition as it can easily be disgustingly parodied and the subject of spoofs. On the other hand, I particularly liked that Toni is a colored boy, as globally colored males appear to be generally at a disadvantage of being easily labeled as criminal, worthless, lazy or unambitious. This positive message of a young colored boy as a superhero or as an achiever needs to be applauded and reduplicated in as many genres as possible. I have awarded this sixty- seven-word children’s story a 4 out of 4 stars, as it proves to be a delightful and subtly didactic story for children that can imbibe good values for modern day living.
Toni the Superhero
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