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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Toni is a tanager, a small but very colorful bird with a tweeting attitude. She is honest to the core, almost brutally honest, taking pleasure in taunting the tree toads for only having three toes. Terri, another tanager, scolds Toni, insisting that she consider the feelings of others, in this case the tree toads. Even if what you say is the truth, it isn’t nice to torment someone with honest observations. Or, as Terri says, “Treat the tree toads like you would like to be treated.” Toni has a lot to learn. She’s also boastful and thinks she’s the best tweeter, but she isn’t. And when others point that out, she feels the pain of honesty. But, she also learns another valuable lesson - that if she tries hard, she will perhaps become a terrific tweeter.
Sally Lee Baker’s charming picture book story, Toni Tanager, is a fun read-aloud, illustrated tongue twisting tale brought to you by the letter “T.” It is an alliteration of fun with repeated ‘t’ words. It’s a real tongue twister of ‘t’s’ complete with valuable messages and interesting trivial information on tanagers and tree toads. But there is a definite plot to this tongue twister. Toni has to learn not to tease and not to brag, two very important lessons that everyone needs to learn, young and old. The story of t’s is accompanied by boldly colorful illustrations which really move this tongue-twisting story along. This book is a lot of fun, as well as being humorous, honest, clever, and educational.