CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 15. . . .December 15, 2017
Tomo Takes Flight.
New York, NY: Imprint (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2017.
40 pp., hardcover, $24.99.
Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.
Review by Janice Foster.
“You’re right. Like most birds, the boka builds a nest high up in a tree to keep its babies safe,” says Tomo, checking the Adventure Journal.
“We’ve got to help the mother build a new nest,” says Maya.
In Trevor Lai’s first book, Tomo Explores the World, the author/illustrator introduced Tomo, a young boy who does not want to follow the family tradition of fishing. Although his father and grandfather are great fishermen, Tomo prefers to invent things and have exciting adventures. The sequel, Tomo Takes Flight, opens with Tomo wondering what it would be like to fly. After inventing a fishing machine to catch his ‘homework’, one fish a day, he sets off with his dog, Captain, and his great grandfather’s Adventure Journal to find his best friend Maya. Together, they discover a drawing of a flying machine in the journal, but, after several failed attempts to build it, Tomo admits he doesn’t know how. Maya’s observations that birds know how to fly best leads the children on a quest to find and study the rare boka bird. The adventure continues.
Inventions and explorations are exciting elements in an adventure story. In Tomo Takes Flight, the young reader is introduced to some of the components of the inventing process. After Tomo’s initial failure at building a flying machine, he watches and studies the boka bird, its wings and how it flies. Then he starts rebuilding, and his improvements work. In the process, he and Maya discover that the boka bird needs a nest for her young, and so the pair begin their next task. The large colourful full-page illustrations add detail and clarity to the short text on each page. The labeled diagrams add interest and allow the reader to pause and consider how information is presented in a drawing. In the Author’s Note at the end of the book, mention is made of the interaction of inventing and exploring with nature and animals. Tomo’s observations of the boka bird to invent his flying machine and the children’s project to build the bird a nest illustrate this connection.
Tomo Takes Flight provides its young reading audience a story that includes creative problem solving, adventure, nature studies and imagination. The large brightly coloured illustrations make it visually intense. It would be a good read-aloud accompanied by guided questions, perhaps on a second reading, to stimulate discussion. Potential inventors and adventurers might want to begin their own Adventure Journal.
Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
© CM Association
University of Manitoba
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