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I love to read. Before I had kids I would spend countless hours reading each week. I can easily get lost in a good book and spend all of my free time reading it until I was done. Well, since having kids this has gotten tougher for me. My free time has been reduced to maybe an hour a day – but I still try to find the time to read. Especially when I come across a good book. That is why I made the time over the last few weeks to read Momotaro: Xander and the Dream Thief. Disney Publishing sent me an advance copy and I was super excited to check it out!
Momotaro: Xander and the Dream Thief is the sequel to Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters. In this book, biracial hero Xander unintentionally loses his family’s dreams when he abuses his Momotaro powers. In true Disney fashion, this book stresses the importance of hope, creativity, and confidence while celebrating the hero within each of us. It is perfect as a middle grade coming-of-age adventure and now that I have read it, I know I plan to give it to my girls when they are a bit older. With interior illustrations throughout, this series delves into an unexplored mythology by expanding on one of the oldest Japanese legends. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I know that anyone (age 10 and up, in my opinion) will as well!
Xander Miyamoto should be feeling great. It’s the beginning of summer vacation, his mother has returned from a long absence, and he has learned that he is a warrior with special powers. Xander never would have guessed that the old Japanese folktale about Momotaro, the hero who sprang from a peach pit, was real, much less part of his own heritage.
But instead of reveling in his recent victory against the oni, monsters bent on creating chaos, Xander is feeling resentful. What took his mother so long to come back? Why does his father insist on ruining the summer with study and training? And why is Xander plagued by nightmares every night? Maybe this whole Momotaro thing is overrated.
Xander’s grandmother gives him a special baku charm to use to chase his nightmares away. He just has to be careful not to rely on it too much. If he does, the baku will not only take his dreams, but those of everyone in the house, forever. Without dreams, there is no hope, no motivation, no imagination, no Momotaro. And then it would be far too easy for Ozuno, king of the oni, to wreak havoc. . . .
On his second quest, Xander explores new surreal landscapes, encounters more strange and dangerous creatures, and faces even higher stakes as he learns whether or not he has what it takes to be Momotaro.
Momotaro: Xander and the Dream Thief comes out April 18th!
About the Author & Illustrator
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 her Momotaro books 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 and went back to live in Seoul. More of his work can be seen at www.choongyoon.com.