This is a wonderful book by a psychotherapist with a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and who has written non fiction about American Indian mythology. I remembered this book from my childhood. I loved it and now I have read it to my daughter and she loved it. She already wants to read it again.
Maris, a tween age girl, is having problems at home with her parents arguing. She goes out into a meadow to relax with her dog. While watching an ant she suddenly finds herself down in a subterranean cave with the ant the size of a dog. It starts a bit like Alice in Wonderland. This is the classic transition from the real world to the fantasy world of the quest. She soon meets up with other pilgrims, a catepillar, a spider Ariadne, a red ant soldier, a possum like creature, and Carabus, a bombastic beetle. Together, they must get to Them, the wise all knowing ones. They must be innovative, brave, work together as a group, and suffer trials, including being prisoners of the Beasts, before they reach the Mountain of Them. In classic quest style, they travel through a forest, float down a river (classic quests often involve crossing water), across a desert, and experience the death of one member of the team and the injuries and terrorizing of others. They rescue a young boy who helps them. Along the way they challenge themselves and gain strong allies and friends. I highly recommend this book!
Library of Congress 67-18996, c. 1967, 307 pages with a wonderful hand drawn map of the quest.