An animal fantasy, with large doses of scientific information, about desert rodent species. Quentin Carmichael, a young kangaroo rat, longs to see the strange daylight world of the desert that is denied him because of his sensitivity to light and heat. After his mother's unexplained death, Quentin ventures out of his burrow and meets a jerboa, another rodent species, who challenges Quentin to seek his dream. With Harry, the poetic centipede, the two rodents form the Adventurers' Swashbuckling Brigade and prepare to brave the desert by day. Along the way, they try to reform Patrick and Pamela Pack Rat and discover ""mankinds"" before a rattlesnake swallows the jerboa. The story, carried almost entirely by clichÃ‰-ridden dialogue, is an unsuccessful mixture of entertainment and education. Words and concepts are often explained in parentheses--hardly entertaining. The lesson is also weakened by the fact that, in nature, the kangaroo rat and jerboa ""don't have much to do with each other.