Review by Kat Berg -- Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base

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Kat Berg
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Review by Kat Berg -- Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base

Post by Kat Berg » 28 Jul 2018, 23:16

[Following is a volunteer review of "Toni the Superhero" by R.D. Base.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Toni The Superhero by R.D. Base is a children’s picture book meant for very early readers. In this book we are introduced to Toni, who is a “Superhero,” and then we learn all the different things Toni likes. The book introduces the concept: Likes to do. (Toni likes to jump, likes to help, likes to eat.) Whether it is playing with friends or helping around the house, in costume or not, Toni is a Superhero.

The book usually has one simple, short sentence per picture, although there are a few times when there is a two-page picture accompanied by two sentences. The pictures are diverse and engaging, with a bright, colorful style. I would love to have a hard copy of this book, as I believe the side-by-side impact of some of the pictures would be more easily appreciated this way. This is, in large part, because of the occasional two-page pictures.

Remembering my childhood, the books that I read were dominated by blond-haired, blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked cherubs that looked nothing like me. I longed to be cute like they were instead of my boring, brown-haired, brown-eyed self. How I would have loved more children who looked like me. Representation is so vital in what children read. And this book offers up a welcome change from the picture books of my youth. Toni is dark-skinned, brown-eyed, rosy-cheeked, and wonderfully happy. And he is the hero, just because he is Toni! What child doesn't want to be special in some way? The fact that Toni is a superhero, whether or not he is in costume, shows that his identity doesn't change based on what he is wearing. I really liked that about this book.

The repetition of the phrase “Toni likes to” helps with word recognition, which is so critical in early readers. I can also see this being an excellent book for young ESL students. It is an easily accessible way to recognize proper sentence structure, and I can already hear the children delighting over the pictures.

There is virtually nothing to critique in this book; it is just fantastic. If I were to offer up some sort of suggestion for improvement for future books, it would be to also include diverse abilities to go along with the diverse ethnicities. Seeing a child in a wheelchair, or with other similar differences, would increase the impact of representation.

The pictures are almost perfect in their cartoon-like splendor. The only exception to this is the world’s largest juice box found on page 22. (It is as big as Toni’s torso!) However, this is so easily overlooked, and considering the style of the book art, it is not a big deal. It is large enough that kids may notice and giggle, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, and can even enhance the enjoyment of the book. I, for one, almost always have a running commentary about the pictures when reading to my nieces and nephews. It makes observing the pictures more fun.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, and I look forward to more books from R.D. Base. I am eager to see how the author progresses the reading level of the Toni The Superhero books. I would recommend this book for early readers, and even non-readers to read with their parents and look at the pictures. ESL teachers would also benefit from having this as part of a supplemental library for those learning English.

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Toni the Superhero
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Sarah Tariq
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Post by Sarah Tariq » 15 Aug 2018, 01:47

I have read this book and enjoyed it very much. It's a perfect book for kids with colorful illustrations and repeating sentences. Thanks for this great review.
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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 15 Aug 2018, 05:21

Thanks for your nice words!

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Post by Miriam Molina » 21 Aug 2018, 21:46

In my early reading days, our books had John, Jean, Peter, and Spot. Being American, these characters certainly looked nothing like me. I am happy to see books like this one featuring a black hero who has a mixture of friends.

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Post by crediblereading2 » 21 Aug 2018, 22:17

Tony the superhero is certainly a likable character who possesses skills that is to be emulated by both children and adult alike. Thank you for a great review.

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Post by Espie » 01 Sep 2018, 02:26

A lesson-filled, insightful, and unprejudiced work with a perfect review score like this definitely deserves to be in my Want to Read list. I like the premise that the protagonist emphasises that it's not only those who have the apparent superpersons who are able to accomplish super feats. Indeed, we could all be heroes and heroines in our own unique ways. Thank you for your well-written and insightful review.
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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Sep 2018, 19:27

Espie wrote:
01 Sep 2018, 02:26
A lesson-filled, insightful, and unprejudiced work with a perfect review score like this definitely deserves to be in my Want to Read list. I like the premise that the protagonist emphasises that it's not only those who have the apparent superpersons who are able to accomplish super feats. Indeed, we could all be heroes and heroines in our own unique ways. Thank you for your well-written and insightful review.
Thanks for the kinds words Espie!

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Post by Lunastella » 05 Sep 2018, 19:29

Kat Berg wrote:
28 Jul 2018, 23:16
Remembering my childhood, the books that I read were dominated by blond-haired, blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked cherubs that looked nothing like me. I longed to be cute like they were instead of my boring, brown-haired, brown-eyed self. How I would have loved more children who looked like me. Representation is so vital in what children read. And this book offers up a welcome change from the picture books of my youth. Toni is dark-skinned, brown-eyed, rosy-cheeked, and wonderfully happy. And he is the hero, just because he is Toni! What child doesn't want to be special in some way? The fact that Toni is a superhero, whether or not he is in costume, shows that his identity doesn't change based on what he is wearing. I really liked that about this book.
I totally agree with you! I also reviewed this book, and the author´s concern for representation and for adding value to her story by setting Toni as a positive example were my two favorite traits of this book. Representation does matter.

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Post by melissy370 » 05 Sep 2018, 20:11

I thought this book was awesome also. The reference to the world's largest juice box was hilarious. I didn't notice it, but now when I read it again, I am sure I will.

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Post by trajoe1206 » 05 Sep 2018, 20:37

Thank you for the wonderful review. This would be a great book for children. I also like your ideas for future books. Great job

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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Sep 2018, 20:40

melissy370 wrote:
05 Sep 2018, 20:11
I thought this book was awesome also. The reference to the world's largest juice box was hilarious. I didn't notice it, but now when I read it again, I am sure I will.
Hahaha! It was the first thing I noticed when I turned to that page, even before the words. I was reading aloud and commented, "Wow, that's a big juice box!" Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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Post by Ma Cheryll » 05 Sep 2018, 21:38

This certainly looks like a very nice book for early readers📚👦🏻👧🏻📚seems very helpful in value formation too. Studies show that children, us included, at a certain young stage, tend to absorb subconsciously everything that they see or hear. That’s why, being exposed to this book, our young readers gets to take in the many good traits of our main character Toni, therefore would grow acquiring these positive characteristics as well👍😃Congratulations to the Author for a very good, well-thought idea of a subject for this book! Thanks for this wonderful Review too @Kat Berg♥️Best regards!

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Post by JuliaKay » 06 Sep 2018, 12:38

I previously reviewed this book as well, and I thought it was pretty enjoyable. It's certainly something a child would like! The illustrations were also vibrant, and I thought the simplicity of the words and briefness would be great for pre-readers. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Cotwani » 08 Sep 2018, 14:57

You are quite observant. I also read and reviewed the book but didn't notice the enormous juice box. I agree the book with its colorful illustrations was quite enjoyable.
Feel free to check out my review at viewtopic.php?f=60&t=77092
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 10 Sep 2018, 01:35

I have read this book and too have enjoyed it. It truly is such a wonderful and suitable book for kids that I'm sure that parents are definitely willing to get it. Thank you for your review!
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