By a frequent author of juvenile nonfiction, a fantasy about a plucky young sea lion, intended to demonstrate the attempts of a threatened species to survive. Daniel is the only sea lion in his cove to appreciate his tribe's legends and to doubt the wisdom of living under the protection of ""bipeds."" After an adventurous journey that includes capture by scientists, he returns to the cove to share his new knowledge, only to be ignored. Disgusted, he and his mate go north and seek sanctuary with a tribe of seals: but, shortly after their pup's birth, they witness the slaughter by humans of the seals' newborns. This inspires Daniel to find a way to defeat the humans (at least temporarily), after which he returns in triumph to lead his own tribe to freedom. Shachtman's characterizations and dialogue are stilted, and readers will have to sort through a wordy, rambling narrative--an uneasy blend of fantasy and natural history--and filter Daniel's impressions in order to get the message. Few will want to make the effort.