Xander Miyamoto would rather do almost anything than listen to his sixth grade teacher, Mr. Stedman, drone on about weather disasters happening around the globe. If Xander could do stuff he's good at instead, like draw comics and create computer programs, and if Lovey would stop harassing him for being half Asian, he might not be counting the minutes until the dismissal bell.
When spring break begins at last, Xander plans to spend it playing computer games with his best friend, Peyton. Xander's father briefly distracts him with a comic book about some samurai warrior that pops out of a peach pit. Xander tosses it aside, but Peyton finds it more interesting.
Little does either boy know that the comic is a warning. They are about to be thrust into the biggest adventure of their lives-a journey wilder than any Xander has ever imagined, full of weird monsters even worse than Lovey. To win at this deadly serious game they will have to rely on their wits, courage, faith, and especially, each other. Maybe Xander should have listened to Mr Stedman about the weather after all. . . .
Praise for Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters:
"With phantasmagorical environments, flying white rats, a fire-breathing bird, a giant, a snow demon, and other creepy things, there is abundant action. This retelling of a Japanese folktale celebrates courage, friendship, and pride of heritage, while featuring unforgettable characters and leaving readers eager for the next installment in this new series." - Booklist
"A breathless retelling of the Japanese legend of Momotaro, this is an Asian version of Percy Jackson; adventure fans will be waiting for more." - Kirkus
"Though the story of Momotaro is familiar to every Japanese child, Dilloway seamlessly weaves necessary background information into the fast, action-filled plot. Xander, a Japanese American boy, hardly knows the legend himself, so readers learn along with him. Xander's candid and straightforward first-person narration will instantly resonate with middle grade readers, as will his story's themes of self-acceptance and friendship. Yoon's comic-style illustrations evoke Xander's talent for drawing and bring welcome visual interest for reluctant readers. This fast-paced fantasy adventure with a foundation in Japanese culture is perfect for fans of Percy Jackson." - School Library Journal
About the Author
Margaret Dilloway has been a writer ever since she learned how to write. In high school she was a California Arts Scholar in Creative Writing and she won a National Council of Teacher English writing award. She practiced writing in a variety of forms, such as being a theater critic and contributing editor for two weekly newspapers, doing technical writing, and playwriting, before publishing three critically acclaimed books for adults, How to Be an American Housewife, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, and Sisters of Heart and Snow. Her research for this book included a trip to Japan and a samurai sword-fighting class. Margaret lives in southern California with her husband, three children, and a Goldendoodle named Gatsby. For more information, visit www.margaretdilloway.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @mdilloway.
Choong Yoon grew up in Seoul, South Korea. As a kid, he loved drawing animated characters and copying comic book panels. His passion for art grew until eventually he studied Fine Arts at Seoul National University. His fascination with narrative storytelling led him to transfer to the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he learned illustration. After graduating Choong began working as a freelance illustrator of books and comic books. He lives in New York City. More of his work can be seen at www.choongyoon.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book reminded me of Percy Jackson, only more unique. I haven't read a lot of stuff about Japanese folklore and found the monsters in this book fresh and interesting. One of the best children's books I've ever read.
This is a fast-paced and exciting read that incorporates elements of Japanese folklore within a contemporary fantasy story. I really enjoyed the way the author updated the folk story to feel fresh and new, and I especially liked the main character, Xander, who faced both personal and epic struggles. (I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review)
When I first read the synopsis of Xander And The Lost Island Of Monsters, by Margaret Dilloway, I was immediately interested. This very Percy Jackson-esque story centers around Japanese mythology. Having lived in Japan for several years, I was hooked. While it WAS very much like the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, I really enjoyed this book because it added some wonderful twists to the genre. It had a unique main character, insight into an exotic culture's traditions and stories, and a powerful message of solving problems with one's brain, rather than with one's weapons. Xander is a very short, mixed race 12 year old from California. His Irish mom took off ages ago, so he lives with his Japanese father and Obachan (grandma). He is not a jock like his best friend Peyton, or in the gifted program like most of his classmates. He would much rather doodle than pay attention in class. Will Xander become the "ne'er do well" everyone expects him to be? I enjoyed all the little touches of Japanese culture that permeated this book. From the food (Onigiri - rice filled with goodies) to the way Xander enters his house (saying, "Tadiama" which means, "I'm home"), this book was authentic and shows much of the culture in an endearing way. It was also a fun introduction to Japanese folk tales such as Momotaro (Peach Boy), and magical characters such as Kitsune (the clever field fox) and the lovable Tanuki (the racoon-dog). These characters are as well known in Japan as Little Red Riding Hood is known in the U.S. I especially loved that Xander did not need to suddenly become a weapons expert to defeat the bad guys. While there was plenty of action and fighting, there were also many instances where Xander needed to use his head to solve riddles and hidden meanings. His imagination was his super power! With it's unusual protagonist, use of Japanese culture, and clever message of using brain power over shock and awe, this book is a refreshing tale that should delight middle grade readers.