A young frog dreams of battle in this animal-adventure series opener.
Darel wants to be a Kulipari like his father, who died in the Hidingwar protecting the dreamcaster turtle king, Sergu, against the scorpion hordes. He diligently trains to be a warrior despite his wood-frog limitations, drawing his chubby sidekick Gee and healer friend Coorah into imaginary adventures (and parental disapproval). But when the protective Veil around the Amphibilands weakens, spiders and scorpions unite, and Gee is kidnapped, Darel seizes the chance to prove himself, save his people and find the remaining Kulipari. Darel is reckless but easy to root for, particularly when he uses both wits and strength to rescue Gee. His opponents, the spider queen Jarrah and scorpion leaders Pigo and Marmoo are stereotypically villainous, with convenient fatal flaws. While the headstrong hero and action may entice readers, the material was more capably handled by the late Brian Jacques in his Redwall saga. An illustrated character chart clarifies the abundance of players and rapidly shifting points of view, and plentiful illustrations depict the action sequences.
This little frog should find fans among readers of the Warriors and Redwall sagas. (Fantasy. 10 & up)