The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Prince
(Newbery Honor Medal should be added soon to image!)
This is a story of an unlikely friendship, a story of unconditional love, a story of family, a story of hate, a story past and present times.
It all started with a calico cat looking for a home. She found one in an unlikely place--under an old house with Ranger, a hound dog who remains chained to the deck by his mean-spirited owner. When the cat has two kittens, both Ranger and the cat feel unbelievable love for these two new lives.
At the same time, hatred abounds. Ranger's owner, Gar Face, is hunting an alligator that lives in one of the nearby rivers. This Alligator King has lived for a thousand years, and has seen much. He has seen Grandmother, a serpent who has also lived for a thousand years, spending most of those trapped in a clay jar.
In this wonderful story, each of these characters will intertwine between situations and time in this story of love, bravery and acceptance.
What I Thought: Um, wow.
This book is well deserved of the 2009 Newbery Honor it was bestowed.
I'll admit it, at first I found it difficult to get into this book. But as Appelt tells this story, she sucks you in and one can simply not this this book down. The magnificence of the storytelling in this book is simply pure genius. Appelt takes you back in time one thousand years and back to the present seamlessly, I have read few- if any -better.
The characters are lovable and instantly you will love them, or love to not like them! You feel their hurt, their disappointment, and you sympathize with their situation...even if you find yourself wishing you wouldn't.
The illustrations are superb. However, there were a few in there that startled me when I turned the page! (Though all in good fun!)
This book would be a great read aloud, and sincerely hope this will become a timeless and beloved book in the world of children's literature.
Winner of a 2009 Newbery Honor, and a National Book Award Finalist.
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