4 out of 4 stars
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Toni the superhero by R.D Base
Toni the Superhero is a children’s book about heroics, albeit every day simple heroics. The plot is filled with examples of Toni’s everyday heroism. You might be surprised at the extent and range of Toni’s powers; from jumping, running, swimming to rescuing animals, all these and more are sometimes all in a day’s job for Toni the superhero. From a cultural perspective and for those who care, Toni the superhero happens to be black; and not only that, the first black child superhero we have ever seen. Eat your hearts out; Falcon, Black Panther, Cyborg (Victor Stone) and even Frozone (of The Incredibles fame).
However, more importantly, this book is about positively reinforcing good behavior, especially for younger children – the target audience. Did R.D Base set out to create a positive role model in creating Toni the superhero? Whether or not, it seems she has succeeded, as it very likely that children will be influenced to want to perform their own everyday heroics.
R.D Base, should be commended, for undertaking such an overlooked challenge (getting young children interested in books), which she has greatly succeeded at. R.D Base has provided age appropriate visuals and simple word constructs to achieve this goal. All this, the simplicity, do not detract from the joy of flipping through the pages of this book. This work is filled with age appropriate illustrations, from the cover page to individual pages, which should appeal to children of all ages. The colours are bright and quite eye catching; this should be another plus to the book. The drawings are simple and quite easy to relate to.
Whatever R.D Base, the author set out to achieve, it seems she has succeeded at and more based on the buzz this book has created. Did Base make Toni black on purpose? Was this incidental? Or is it that Base simply imagined Toni as black from inception? Subsequent interviews by R.D Base will let us know. It must have also taken some courage to use mostly four-word sentences, even though the book target audiences as stated earlier are younger children.
The only downside is that the read is quite short and takes too little time to run or flip through, which is not unusual for books of this target audience. However, this can be remedied by giving us more volumes of Toni the Superhero. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The book is well edited and as stated earlier, well-illustrated and age appropriate.
Toni the Superhero
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