4 out of 4 stars
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Review Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Toni is a kid with superpowers. But, he's surprisingly down to earth and enjoys what most kids do, while also being a very well-behaved child. In this book, we mostly discover what Toni likes. Toni the Superhero is targeted towards children ages 0 to 4.
One of the many accomplishments of this book is how relatable it is for its target audience. If the book were all about Toni saving the world or performing superhero tasks, maybe kids would look up to him but would they be so easily related to him?
Instead, Toni enjoys jumping, running, swimming and even dusting and sweeping, which takes me to the next big accomplishment of this little literary jewel: Toni is an excellent role model. Kids are easily impressionable and what they read in their formative years is of the utmost importance, in my opinion. We all, even as adults, in one way or the other, are influenced by the content we consume daily: be it books, magazines, TV or the Internet. So, I think it's great that the author cared not only about making this book appealing and age-appropriate, but about sending a positive message with it. Other books in the series about Toni include Toni Loves Vegetables! and Toni Likes to Read! which I think makes clear that R.D. Base wanted to create an upstanding character.
I´d also like to applaud that Toni is an African-American kid. I really like this because representation matters and favorable representation is the most important kind. For the aforementioned values showed in the book, as well as this fact, I can't help but praise how socially conscious the author seems to be.
Each sentence in the book is accompanied by the corresponding illustration which I think it's a great way to catch the reader's attention and help clarify the idea or any words they don't quite understand. The illustrations all feature bright, lively colors and might be very attractive for young readers.
The language of Toni the Superhero is, obviously, very simple, because it's supposed to be understandable for kids that are just starting to read or that will enjoy this book read by someone else. All the verbs are in the present tense, there is almost no adjective or adverb usage and the nouns are all very basic. I´m not entirely sure this is an accomplishment, and it's actually my least favorite part of the book. I do understand the book has to be readable and age-appropriate, however, as a Linguist, I know that kids will not learn a more developed vocabulary if you don't expose them to more complicated words gradually. This is also a very short book, which is great for very little kids but more advanced readers might end up craving more plot development. Especially for kids aged 4 this book could end up being a bit too simplistic, at least for some of them.
The editing of this book is flawless. When converted from PDF to the Kindle Android app some sentences don't match the illustrations, but this doesn't happen in the PDF original, so it's not an editing problem, and I'm quite sure if the author decides to sell on e-book format this can be very easily fixed.
For its original plot, commendable message, appealing illustrations, age-appropriate language and careful editing I rate Toni the Superhero 4 out of 4 stars. And I highly recommend it for all the beginning readers around us.
Toni the Superhero
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