4 out of 4 stars
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Toni the Superhero
by R.D. Base
Toni the Superhero is a short and colorfully illustrated book simple for early learning readers, ages 2-6, to read and comprehend. The sentences are short and contain vocabulary appropriate for children up to first grade. The repetition of the sentence starter “Toni likes to…” builds the readers confidence while also setting the pace of the story. In addition, it also creates anticipation and wonder for the reader will become curious as to what other activities Toni enjoys in the book.
As I was making my way through the book again, I noticed this book avoids stereotypes. An example of this is portraying Toni as a young boy who enjoys sweeping and dusting. These are typically tasks women complete but having Toni, a male individual, show enjoyment of these everyday jobs breaks that stereotype. As a teacher, it is surprising just how stereotypical picture and chapter books we include in our classroom library. This would be a great addition an early childhood classroom to instill there are no gender specific activities.
In addition to breaking stereotypes, I felt the book contained an underlying message. Aside from the fact Toni is a superhero because he is capable of completing a wide variety of activities, he is also a superhero by simply being himself. This is an imperative message considering children grow up feeling they need to conform to the norms of society and to go by the opinions of others.
Strengths of this book are the colorful illustrations, the message of the book and ease of reading. The illustrations are bright, eye-catching and pair well with the writing. As mentioned above, the story entails a fantastic message of being who you are, an important message to portray and geared towards a vulnerable age group. Exposing this message to a young age group will promote a healthy growth mindset. As for ease of reading, vocabulary is simple, demonstrates repetition and avoids jargon that would confuse the story the story to the reader.
A downfall of this book is the lack of complexity. As mentioned above this book makes for a great book for a young reader however, I wish there was more complexity with Toni and his superhero adventures. It would provide opportunities for higher-level comprehension questions rather than “what activity did Toni do here?”, “Does Toni like to _____?”
Overall I give this book a score of 4 out of 4 stars. This book well-edited and serves as a useful learning and entertainment tool for young children. Regardless of its minor faults, it demonstrates much potential to teach children many valuable messages while also developing reading skills. I recommend this book to parents and teachers who want to encourage good habits and appreciation of reading to their children and students.
Toni the Superhero
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