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Publisher's Summary

There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.

An abandoned calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the achingly lonely howl of a chained up, abused hound dog deep in the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise Sabine and Puck there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use her or her kittens as alligator bait should he find them. But, they are safe in the underneath...as long as they stay in the underneath.

Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten's one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning.

In the tradition of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love (and its opposite), the fragility of happiness - and the importance of making good on your promises.

©2008 Kathi Appelt; (P)2008 Simon and Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A mysterious and magical story; poetic yet loaded with suspense." (Louis Sachar, Newbery Medal-winning author of Holes)
"The Underneath is as enchanting as a hummingbird, as magical as the clouds." (Cynthia Kadohata, Newbery Medal-winning author of Kira-Kira)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Tara
  • Richmond, VA, United States
  • 07-26-11

dark and intense

Be prepared for a story with a lot of dark issues-- irredeemably bad characters, violence against animals and children. The story is beautifully told, but I think readers benefit from being prepared for the ride.

The narration of this rendition is fantastic! Wonderful pacing, clear articulation, and captures the essence of the book with her character voices and inflection. I was able to understand every word while driving in a car with the windows open!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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inappropriate for children

This book is about an alcoholic that beats starves and abuses his dog. there are several deaths that take place during this story. the alcoholic puts a cat and her kitten in a bag and throws it in a river. This book is supposed to be for 4th and 5th graders and I believe that it is entirely inappropriate for that age level.

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read before your child

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I read this book before I was planning on giving it to a reading group of 5th graders. I just thought there was SO much negativity in the book...just a bit much I guess. Maybe I'm just in the holiday spirit and this book definitely was a bit of a "downer!"

What about Gabra Zackman’s performance did you like?

great voices

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Beautifully written story

Appelt has written a story that is musical and poetic. Her craft and carefully chosen words caught me time and again throughout this story. Equally masterful was her weaving of the plot lines in such a way that, as a reader, I was always on the edge of my seat- anticipating what would happen to the various characters. This is a story filled with all the feeling and conflict that has existed since time began: love, loneliness, revenge, betrayal, friendship, wonder, sacrifice, and fear. Zackman's masterful performance matches the excellence of Appelt's story making this a stand-out audiobook for those who love a good tale and the beauty of words well written!

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Sensational, Unpredictable Love Story

My heart twisted and turned and grew and ached for the dog, the cat, her kittens, the grandmother snake and her daughter. Even the grandmothers soured heart had room for love after a thousand years! Listen to this it will change how you see life!

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Brilliantly eerie, full of loneliness and love

Appelt has created a masterpiece, a beautiful mixture of fear, heartbreak, and love. Characters are absolutely amazing and woven together in relationships common to all of us but also unique to the story.

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Not for struggling readers

I read to help one of my student's through it, and afterwards decided that it is too much for a struggling 8th grader.

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  • Linda
  • Cherokee, AL
  • 01-02-13

Beautifully written! Beautifully Read!!

Would you listen to The Underneath again? Why?

I read this book and found it to be written in a beautiful cadence so I decided to buy the audiobook and was moved to tears by the narrator's reading. I will listen to this book again and again and have recommended it to my friends - all adults.

What other book might you compare The Underneath to and why?

I would compare this book to "A Dog's Purpose" and "War Horse" since these stories were written from the animals perception as well very descriptive.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I would love to see this book made into a film. If you liked Charlotte's Web, you'll cry for The Underneath.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful