Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters

Posted in Age-o-Meter: 8-12, Scare-o-Meter: 5

SNATCH A STORY

 
An excerpt from Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters:
 

Illustration © Choong Yoon

Illustration © Choong Yoon

Above me stands a turtle boy. A somewhat human-looking creature nearly six feet tall, with arms and legs extending out of a green shell. He cocks his head and considers me with bulbous, wet-looking black eyes. An olive-green third eyelid slides over in a blink.

I blink too, thinking I’m dreaming again. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?” He sort of looks like one, except his hands and feet are webbed, and he has a shock of short, sleek black hair. Instead of a normal mouth, he’s got a sharp beak. His face reminds me more of a chimpanzee than a turtle, though, and his skin is covered in sleek greenish-brown scales.

“Kappa!” Jinx croaks from someplace next to me. I turn my head. She’s prone on the beach, her arms and legs tied behind her with dirty rope. “Kappa.”

“Kappa?” I repeat dumbly. I don’t know what a kappa is. Some kind of Greek fraternity? Like Delta Gamma Kappa?

The turtle man pushes me roughly onto my back, then sits on my legs. Owwww. That does not feel good. My shins pop. “Get off!” I try to crawl away, but I’m pinned. The turtle boy says nothing, just sets about tying my wrists together with an itchy rope. Then my ankles.

Half of Jinx’s face is covered with sand. “Leave me here. I’ll catch up.”

I kind of have to admire her optimism. She might be sort of a jerk, but at least she’s a confident one. “I doubt either of us is going anywhere anytime soon,” I say.

The kappa speaks. “Zurripty zung zoo!” He gags Jinx with a cloth, and ties it behind her head. Then he bends over and examines me, patting my pockets for loot. His neck is crooked at a funny angle. The top of his head has a bald spot, indented like a bowl, and filled with something that looks like thick water. Clear Jell-O? He’s holding his head carefully, as if he doesn’t want the stuff to spill. The liquid smells like a thousand rotting anchovies. A couple of gnats buzz above it.

I wrinkle my nose. What is that? His brain?

The kappa throws another rope over a tree branch and ties the end clumsily around my feet. Then he yanks.

I go upside down. My heart pounds in my ears as the blood rushes to my head. “Stop!” I bellow. “Let me down. Look, I’m a lot of fun. We can be friends.” I’m babbling without thinking. Friends? With a monster? Not likely.

“No friendly.” He pushes me some more, clicking his tongue.

“If you eat me, you’ll just be bored again.” He spins in my vision. Jinx flops around like a strangling fish. Maybe she can wriggle away, somehow, while I distract him.

The kappa sits down on the beach. “I keep. Swing, swing. Then eat, by and by.”

Ugh. The prospect of my neck snapping seems better than swinging upside down for who knows how long. I come up with something different. “Let me make you an offer.”

“Offer?” A fat pink tongue appears and he licks off his beak.

I squish my eyes shut. I imagine fighting him, and before I can stop myself, I say, “Let’s have a wrestling match. If I beat you, you free us. If you beat me, well, then you can eat me or whatever. But let the girl go either way.”

“MPPPHHH!” Jinx sputters incoherently, rolling helpless along the shore. “HWETOWJ!”

I know exactly what she’s saying. You’re going to die, fool.

I kind of agree with her.
 

From Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dilloway. Text copyright (c) 2016 by Margaret Dilloway. Reprinted by permission of Disney • Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group, LLC. All rights reserved

 

WICKED READ

 
9781484746813Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters
By Margaret Dilloway
Illustrations by Choong Yoon
Published by Disney Press
ISBN-13: 9781484746813
Series: Momotaro Series
Age Range: 8 – 12 Years

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…

 

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THE FREE & FREAKY

Be Momotaro for Halloween!
Make your own Origami Samurai Helmet and Origami sword.
 

THE CREEPY CREATOR

 
headshot-2014Margaret Dilloway is a monster hunter living in San Diego, California, where she is careful to stay out of the sun and gets plenty of sleep. Japanese monsters are her favorite because she’s half-Japanese and because there are so many of them—and plenty of weird ones! Hobbies include turning into a bat, lurking in dark shadows, and being immortal. She has a big fluffy Goldendoodle named Gatsby, whom she likes so much she put him in her book. She also has a husband and three children. Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters is Book One of a new series.