Tomo and his best friend, Maya, use his great-grandfather’s Adventure Journal to solve more problems (Tomo Explores the World, 2016).
As Tomo plots how to fly like a bird, Maya has discovered some unusual bird tracks to investigate. Off they go to their treehouse to see if the Adventure Journal can help them with these mysteries. Though the book has a diagram of a “flying machine” (actually a suit with wings, which may stretch many young readers’ notion of “machine”), it does not have all the information Tomo needs, so he decides to experiment. After Maya suggests he model his wings after a bird’s, they find a map in the Adventure Journal that leads them to a bird sanctuary on their island home. At the sanctuary, they spot the rare boka bird—the source of the mysterious tracks. Observing how the boka flies inspires Tomo to try again. Lai sets his tale in a lushly green fishing community. Background details of Cape Cod–style frame houses combine with such stereotypical elements as clothing style, animal-head medallions, and Tomo’s father’s animal-tooth necklace to give readers a sense of a modern, generic indigenous community. Tomo and Maya have pink skin, black hair, and black, button eyes. But the main event is Tomo’s Leonardo-like excitement in invention.
Homing in on the delight of discovery, Lai’s second Tomo book encourages readers to get creative when solving problems. (Picture book. 5-7)