4 out of 4 stars
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Toni The Superhero by R. D. Base is the first book in a series about a young boy named Toni and his everyday adventures.
Toni is a great character. I love that he is someone who may have superpowers, but still enjoys doing everyday activities, just like the rest of his friends. Any child can relate to a 5-year-old superhero who does his chores, has plenty of fun, and eats and sleeps, just like any one else. He could be the boy next door, or the one who sits next to you at kindergarten.
This is a great book to help kids get started on the journey towards becoming happy readers. Having worked with young learners for a few years, I could definitely say that this book would be a great place to help them start.
The pattern of the book, which uses repetition to familiarise the child with a simple sentence pattern, helps the child to start at A and slowly work their way to Z, while building confidence during the process. Plus, the book is FUN! There are numerous action words that kids may already know. Putting these into a pattern is a great building-up process.
Another thing I found helpful is the simplicity of the book. The sentences are easy to read, the settings are easy to relate to, and the ideas are simple and fun. But within this simplicity, the book has opened up scope for infinite possibilities. Follow-up activities can be designed to strengthen the reading base. It also opens a lot of doors for the child to use his/her imagination. The book has also packed in a number of subtle messages through Toni's everyday activities and choices.
The illustrator, Debbie Hefke has used pictures that a child could easily draw. This also adds to the value of the book. You can especially see this on the page in which Toni goes swimming. The images are flat. On another page, Toni's juice-box looks bigger than a box of cereal. The expansive pictures, most of which span over two pages will wrap the child in and encourage closer scrutiny, and more education. They are full of solid colours, and depict fun-filled action in an every-day setting.
The choice of font-size is the only thing I could pick out as a negative. Though the use of contrast has clearly demarcated the text from the background, perhaps a bigger font-size would draw the attention of the child more effectively.
I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for so brilliantly fulfilling its purpose as a first-step reader. Parents who want to encourage young children to start reading should get this book, as well as the rest of the books in the series. It would definitely be worth it.
Toni the Superhero
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