4 out of 4 stars
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Toni the Superhero is a fantastic children's book for beginners that teaches kids how to be heroes in their everyday lives. The story follows a little boy, Toni, who has superpowers yet still finds enjoyment in little acts of kindness such as saving kittens from trees and helping his mom wash the dishes. A hero in every sense of the word, Toni teaches children that character is what makes someone truly heroic.
There is so much to love about this book. One of its strong points is its ability to capture the attention of its younger audience (anywhere from 3 to 5 years old, I would say) through the use of very simple, repetitive sentences. This repetition is perfect for any new reader to grow and memorize common words. The story allows children to become sure of their own skills.
Although I find the story’s simple sentences very useful, there are much greater lessons to learn from Toni the Superhero. By connecting chores and fun hobbies to a hero, this book encourages healthy habits in kids from a young age. My favorite aspect of this book would have to be the main character himself. I so often see black males in the media being portrayed as criminals or deadbeats or victims of injustice, so seeing a black boy dressed in a cape and doing good deeds fills my heart with so much joy. Toni teaches children that skin color does not define morality; skin color does not define fate. Our actions do that. African Americans do not have to be the villains or the victims they are so often viewed as. There are heroes in every shade and Toni helps the next generation realize this.
I really had to nitpick to find anything negative about this book, but alas I found its kryptonite. While the story itself is perfect in my eyes, the illustrations could be better. They seem rather flat, unnaturally two-dimensional. The people do not appear to be in action, instead almost statuesque. More movement and intention in the drawings would go a long way.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It was difficult to discover where the book needed to improve because the positives overpowered the negatives completely. I was blown away by how simply and gracefully the story handled the many complexities of our world. Toni the Superhero urges us all to notice that the smallest actions can have such a powerful impact.
Toni the Superhero
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