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The Underneath

ISBN: 9781416950592 | 1416950591
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: 1/5/2010

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The Underneath, Kathi Appeltís award-winning childrenís novel, is a captivating blend of gritty realism and fantastical mysticism. Appeltís style has a distinct cadence which seems to mimic the lush forested misty landscape of the environs of Lake Caddo, an area steeped in legends and the fantastic. The novel alternates between two stories that take place a thousand years apart and artfully weaves a connection which creates a resounding heart-warming ending. Before the heartwarming ending, however, younger readers should be prepared for the dark realities of the contemporary story.

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.

A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of 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 her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the 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. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as 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, hate -- the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.

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