4 out of 4 stars
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Every child dreams of becoming a superhero. With the book Toni the Superhero, they learn that they actually have everything they need to achieve their dream.
Toni the Superhero is a children’s book. In its short pages, we see Toni doing things a normal child can do. We have a wide variety of activities. There are activities that benefit his health, his physical condition, and his relationship with others. It mixes activities that a child normally does, like playing with others, with activities that he normally avoids, like cleaning the house. Cleaning the house should become more fun for kids because if Toni does it, they will want to do it too. This superhero image is just so that children will take his example.
It actually goes beyond the superpowers. What is a superhero without his superpower, right? We only see Toni flying, he isn’t battling criminals or monsters. All the other things he does are ordinary. Except maybe rescuing pets because I consider that an extraordinary act. Children will think of superheroes as more human if they see Toni do all those simple things anyone can do.
I like the fact that Toni is a boy of color. It crushes the Superman image. Just like this book teaches kids that superheroes don’t do only extraordinary things, it also teaches them that superheroes are not generic and can be found in anyone, not only white Caucasian males.
The illustrations by Debbie J. Hefke are colorful and full of life. They could easily convince a child to pay attention to them. One thing I noticed is that we see Toni with his friends and his mother, but maybe a father figure would have also been nice to see. I would have liked to see Toni help his father. It doesn’t bother me because this book is more focused on what Toni does than who he is with. As there are more books to come, I hope we will see him in the next books.
This book is easy to read. It is short, light, and fun. The use of simple verbs, for example, “to like” or “to be”, helps the young reader understand better, without having to grasp more than 2-3 syllables. The repetitive words make the task easier for the kids, giving them confidence in the first words of the phrase but also challenging them with the last ones. A mother or a kindergarten teacher could benefit from reading this book to children. It is meant to be read by children within the age range of 4 to 7 years. I think a seven-year-old child is a little too old for this book. I read books more complex than this one at that age. I would have kept the age range of 4 to 6, but a year is not a big difference. At that age, a child needs to read only things that can capture his attention. I believe this book can.
I give Toni the Superhero 4 out of 4 stars. It is a book that fulfills its purpose. It is supposed to inspire children who dream of superheroes and to create a more child-appropriate image of them. I would’ve liked to read this book as a child. Since I happen to have a niece of 4 years old, I am thinking of trying this book with her when she will start to read. I have a feeling it will go well.
Toni the Superhero
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