The Hoppernots

The Hoppernots

by Deborah Blake Dempsey

ISBN: 9780990481201

Publisher Pug Paw Press

Published in Children's Books/Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery & Horror, Children's Books/Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

How do you become a hero when everyone thinks you’re trouble?

When Max, Cristobel, and Spyder discover legendary creatures they believed were the figment of the Elders imagination, they vow to discover why they have returned. Catching the evil creatures destroying their home and attacking an Elder, the trio must make everyone forget their troublemaking past and trust them to lead them in a fight for the lake they call home or risk losing it…and their lives.

Sample Chapter


It was the beginning of the evening festivities on Lake Fibian. The last of winter’s chilly fingers loosened their grip, as early spring transformed the earth from barren and leafless to budding and lush.

All around the lake clusters of frogs gathered at the edge of the murky green water. Above them night-dewed trees rustled and swayed. The warm evening breeze swirled the scents of the lake through the air – the damp smell of the earth, old fallen leaves and the lingering salty-sweet scent of late afternoon rain. Through the trees and dancing above the glistening water, lightning bugs buzzed around the crowd, casting shimmer and light on the water.

Some frogs found their favorite spots and remained rooted while others pushed and slipped into tight-knotted groups. The rest found any place they could cling to or burrow under, leaving only their curious eyes above ground.

The noise level grew and the earth sounded like a symphony tuning up.

Nearing the large trunk of an oak tree, three young frogs rushed to join the crowd.

“Hurry! Hurry! We’re late.” Cristobel yelled back to her two friends hopping behind her.

“But, we’re almoth there,” Spyder said. His large blue belly heaved rapidly.

“Do we have to leap the whole way, Crithobel?”

“The beginning is the best part,” Max chirped. He hopped past them, a wide grin spread across his green face.

“I think the food is the best part,” Spyder grumbled, which reminded him of the feast to come. He sped up.

“I can’t wait to get to the lake,” Cristobel squealed. She sprang forward and caught up to Max. They entered the clearing and arrived at the mouth of Lake Fibian.

Cristobel and Max stopped and leaned against a squat purple mushroom to catch their breath while they waited for Spyder to catch up.

When Spyder arrived, huffing and puffing, they hopped forward and looked for a spot close to the water’s edge. Their laughter joined the cacophony of frog voices as they watched the band, The Spadefoots, tune their instruments.

Cristobel hopped up and down, then chirped. “Can you feel it?”

“Feel what?” Max asked.

“You can feel my belly gwumbling, can’t you?” Spyder asked. His belly was demanding, always rumbling with its need for food.

“Not your stomach, silly.” Cristobel raised a hand and rubbed her flat fingers against her ear. “Something exciting is going to happen tonight. I can feel it.”

“Maybe there will be new appetizers,” Spyder said. “I’d love some worm puffs or snails wrapped in crispy beetle legs.”

Cristobel puffed out her cheeks and continued to hop in place. Max gazed around and noted a few missing frogs.

“I wish one of us lived closer to the lake.” Max grumbled. “We could have stayed home and watched from the windows.”

Max looked over at a nearby tree and saw frogs from different species clinging to rough bark like autumn leaves. He sighed when he saw mushroom-topped roofs and tall twig condos covered with squirming excited bodies.

Chirping in revelry a rushing group of Spring Peepers pushed Cristobel aside.

“Hey, watch out!” Cristobel cried. She bumped into Spyder’s stomach, bounced off his round belly and landed on her bottom. Max and Spyder laughed and helped her up.

The boys stood on either side of Cristobel. She looped her arms through theirs, linking them together. It was harder to get knocked down this way.

Once a month, on Luna Light Night the Anura ­­­­—the entire frog nation —gathered around Lake Fibian to celebrate the unity of the lake. The bright, circular orb suspended high in the air, lit the lake, and lured frogs from every tree, burrow, or lily pad together to swap stories, share a laugh or sometimes to discuss problems or concerns, but mostly, it was to celebrate.

Cristobel looked out over the water, then at her two friends. “It’s hard to believe we wouldn’t be friends if the Anura still fought each other.”

Lake Fibian’s history, to the shock and delight of the leaplings, was a mixture of battles, secrets, and misdeeds. It wasn’t only the frogs who fought. All the animal species that lived at the lake fought each other, but the worst battles were between the different species of the Anura.

Cristobel, Max, and Spyder, affectionately known by all the animals of Lake Fibian as The Three, were from different, and previously warring, species. If the battles existed, they would not be friends today.

Among the Anura, the trio were an odd sight to see. While the other species of the Anura got along well enough, they tended to have friendships within their own species, but seeing The Three’s strong bond, many of the other frogs were encouraged to look past colors, spots, stripes, and croaks.

Cristobel gazed fondly at her two friends. “Who would have thought members of the Red-Eyed Tree frogs, the Strawberry Poison-Darts, and the Polka Dot Tree frogs could be friends like we are.”

“And we are the vewy best of friends,” Spyder said.

“We have an unbreakable friendship,” Max added.

Max hailed from the Red-Eyed Tree frog species. He blended in with lakeside flora, which was good...when he was up to no good. Seen from above, his head and back were bright green. Seen from below, his golden belly usually quivered with laughter. His strong arms and legs were blue and his webbed hands and feet were bright orange. His eyes were a delightful shade of red that usually held a twinkle.

Being an only sib-leapling, Max thought of Spyder as his brother-frog and couldn’t imagine them not being friends. They met as tadpoles and had seen each other every day since they lost their tails.

Spyder was a Strawberry Poison Dart frog. His real name was Bates, but Max nicknamed him Spyder because his head, upper back and arms were bright red and his lower body and feet were brilliant blue with thin black lines that ran around his body like a spider’s web.

They became fast friends when Max stood up for Spyder when other tadpoles made fun of his tangled tongue. Spyder also had a speech snag that twisted his words, but made listening to him fun.

Cristobel was a Polka-Dot Tree frog. Max and Spyder didn’t like girl frogs very much since most were squeamish and giggly, but they thought Cristobel was cool for a girl frog. Her skin was bright yellow with gentle shades of green and red. Her expressive white eyes and air of innocence usually got them out of trouble.

To the Lake Fibian community The Three were a wonderful sight. The trio was usually seen bounding and leaping by with their bright colors and constant laughter. They reminded everyone, and not only the Anura, of the importance of keeping the peace and working together.

On this particular evening, the air was electric. A strange hum tinged the oncoming night. Every frog felt the buzz in the air like industrious bees making honey.

The Spadefoots finished tuning up their wooden, leaf, and stone-made instruments and were ready to play the Lake Fibian anthem. Rows and rows of frogs prepared their throats, expanding and contracting their fleshy underbellies in preparation to sing the opening song of Luna Light Night.


Excerpted from "The Hoppernots" by Deborah Blake Dempsey. Copyright © 2014 by Deborah Blake Dempsey. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Deborah Blake Dempsey

Deborah Blake Dempsey

Deborah Blake Dempsey is a New Yorker by birth, a Floridian by the number of years raised there, and a New Englander by choice. She loves good books, belly laughs, fabulous shoes, and travel. She has a twisted sense of humor and truly believes laughter is the elixir of life. Deborah currently lives in New Hampshire with her husband Joe. The Hoppernots is her debut novel.

View full Profile of Deborah Blake Dempsey

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