In this sequel to XANDER AND THE LOST ISLAND OF MONSTERS, our biracial hero unintentionally loses his family's dreams when he abuses his Momotaro powers. Without their dreams, their will to live begins to ebb. . . . Can Xander get them back before it's too late?
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.
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
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