An accessible, brightly colored work that may appeal to young fans of superheroes and kids who need a little encouragement...


An African-American child who loves vegetables uses his superpowers to keep bad-health monsters away in this picture book by author Base and illustrator Hefke (Toni the Superhero, 2018).

Toni is a seemingly ordinary youngster who can transform into a caped-and-masked hero. Using his “Veggie Power,” he combats such villains as Mr. Softy Bones, who can make bones grow soft; Mr. Gross Yucka Boo Boo, who can cause sickness; and Ms. Tummy Slam Pangs, who gives people stomachaches after they eat junk food. Sometimes Toni’s powers appear as rays from his eyes; at other times, they appear to have a martial arts element. Hefke’s two-page spreads of cartoon clouds with limbs flailing and comic-book–style sound effects obscure any depiction of actual violence. In short sentences with repeated keywords (“Toni eats vegetables. Vegetables make him strong”), Base emphasizes eating veggies of different colors, which will give preschool lap-readers the opportunity to identify both the hues and the vegetables portrayed. Although Toni and his friends, a diverse group, don’t speak any lines, their illustrated reactions to bad guys and good foods will give readers instant understanding.

An accessible, brightly colored work that may appeal to young fans of superheroes and kids who need a little encouragement to eat healthier.

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72166-632-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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