We are so excited to share anniversary thoughts and goodies to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Kathi Appelt’s first published novel, THE UNDERNEATH. This gorgeously written book won a Newbery Honor and was a National Book Award Finalist!
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 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. 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.
Thoughts by Laura Gardner ~ @LibrarianMsG on Instagram
It’s been 10 years since THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt was first published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. I read (a lot), but this is one that’s stuck with me over the last ten years. It’s even on a list I keep of books to read aloud with my children someday. In preparing to write this review, I decided that day had come for my almost-7 year old. The lyrical, beautifully written text begs to be read aloud and the illustrations (by David Small) are striking. The danger is palpable within the first five pages with a level of foreshadowing and an evil protagonist (Gar-Face) rarely seen in children’s books. Simply put, my son was captivated and we read deep into the night.
Check out the trailer for The Underneath!
About the Author
Kathi Appelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her first novel, The Underneath, was a National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Honor Book. It also received the PEN USA Award. Her other novels include The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, a National Book Award finalist, and Maybe a Fox, one of the Bank Street Books Best Children’s Books of the Year. In addition to writing, Ms. Appelt is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, and to find curriculum materials and activity pages, visit her website at kathiappelt.com.
Fifteen lucky winners will receive an autographed paperback copy of The Underneath. In addition, one Grand Prize winner will win a classroom set of 20 copies of the book PLUS a 30-40 minute Skype visit for her/his school, classroom, or library with award-winning author Kathi Appelt. Enter here!
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