4 out of 4 stars
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I would rate this book 4 out of 4. The book is simple and repetitive as a first reader should be. As a grown reader sharing the book with a young child, the cadence Toni likes… allows room for conversation: “Toni like running”, do you like running. “Toni like singing”, what are your favorite songs? For a beginning reader, the repetition means that they can easily learn the content quickly, since each page starts with the same phrase. The activities Toni likes are depicted, providing visual clues a young reader can use to put the words in context.
The illustrations are brightly colored, well drawn and engaging. Toni looks very sharp in his superhero costume. Many children enjoy playing dress up and participating in dramatic play. With his youth and engaging smile, Toni is a believable and approachable superhero, not a dark knight, but a bright star. Toni is shown enjoying many activities in a variety of settings, both indoors and out. He is shown interacting with family and friends in what seems a safe and comfortable community.
Toni likes a lot of different activities. Children who enjoy sports will able to identify with him , but so will kids who are more artistic or musically inclined. Toni seems equally comfortable dancing and running. There are no limits on what he enjoys. We see him working at chores, playing with friends and enjoying time with family. He seems happy and comfortable in all sorts of activities.
The children shown are a multicultural group. Toni and his family are black, but his friends appear to be of many races. It doesn’t seem forced, but natural. It’s important to include characters of different cultures in books for young children, who need to see someone like themselves depicted. Showing a multiracial world also helps to open young minds to the diversity around them. It is important to be able to see oneself represented, but also to see that others are represented too.
Toni’s friends are both boys and girls. He doesn’t limit his interests to typical “boy” activities, or limit his friendships. He joins in all activities with all his friends, usually with a big smile. He seems to really enjoy himself.
Toni does things that all kids do. His super-power is that he seems so comfortable in his skin and that he has the confidence to be Toni, in all his glory.
Toni the Superhero
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