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StorySnoops Children's Book Reviews | The Underneath | Kathi Appelt
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The Underneath
by Kathi Appelt
LEXILE READING LEVEL: 830L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
NO. PAGES: 320
GENRE{S}: Literary Fiction, Fantasy
ALA-ALSC Childrens Notable Book
Newbery Honor
National Book Award Finalist
ISBN: 1416950591
READ & REVIEWED BY: Eden - StorySnoop

The Story
The Underneath—Book Review

The Underneath is the story of an an old hound, who has been chained up outside of his hateful owner's shack deep in the woods. He befriends a mama cat and her kittens, and offers them safe haven under his porch. They will be safe there as long as they don't venture out from The Underneath, because the man, Gar Face, will use them for alligator bait if they do. Kittens are notoriously curious though, and when one of the kittens ventures out one day, a frightening and remarkable chain of events are set into motion.
The Scoop
The Underneath—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

This is a lyrical tale that weaves the modern-day story of the hound and kittens with the ancient story of a group of mythical shape-shifting creatures. Eventually, the two story-lines intertwine. The lone human character is a damaged (both physically and emotionally) man named Gar Face who is evil and mistreats the animals. This story is definitely not for the reader who is sensitive to animal suffering. One cat dies, though it's handled in an age-appropriate, somewhat vague way. Gar Face is cruel to Ranger, the dog, and the animals hunt smaller critters to survive, but the descriptions are not graphic. The language in this book is very stylized and descriptive, and at times the plot is very focused on the current state of the characters instead of forward movement--probably not the right choice for readers looking for cover-to-cover action. However, it is beautifully told and richly descriptive. Ultimately, love prevails over hate, and the ending is satisfying. It would make a good family read-aloud.
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The Underneath—Book Review

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