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The Underneathby Kathi Appelt and David Small
Synopses & Reviews
andlt;bigandgt;andlt;bandgt;andlt;BRandgt; 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. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;/bandgt;andlt;/bigandgt; andlt;BRandgt; 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. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; 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.
Known for charming picture books ("My Father's House," "Piggies in a Polka"), Kathi Appelt borrows from Native American lore and the East Texas bayou to create "The Underneath," a uniquely American tale. Chained to a saggy shack, a lonely old hound, Ranger, finds comfort in caring for the abandoned mother cat and kittens that show up beneath the porch (the "Underneath" of the title). Meanwhile, Ranger's... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) master, a violent and disfigured man known as Gar Face, pursues an ancient alligator with Ahab-like intensity. A seemingly separate story line revolves around the alligator's friend Grandmother Moccasin, who broods upon past wrongs in a prison jar made centuries ago by her shape-shifting daughter. The story lines start to converge when one of the kittens ventures from the Underneath and catches Gar Face's evil eye and the vengeful serpent escapes from her jar. Eschewing easy sentimentality, this lyrical allegory explores the nature of love and hate in short chapters graced by timeless trees and a mystical hummingbird. Mary Quattlebaum's most recent children's book is "Sparks Fly High," a retelling of a colonial American folk tale. Reviewed by Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"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
"Rarely do I come across a book that makes me catch my breath, that reminds me why I wanted to be a writer — to make of life something beautiful, something enduring. The Underneath is a book of ancient themes — love and loss and betrayal and redemption — woven together in language both timeless and spellbinding. A classic." Alison McGhee, author of the New York Times bestselling Someday
Abandoned and about to have kittens, a calico cat is befriended by a hound dog who urges her to raise her kittens underneath the porch of his owner's house, where they will be safe--as long as they stay in the Underneath. This harrowing yet sweet story is a tale about the power of love and hate. Illustrations.
In this fresh and funny middle-grade novel, Flora the pig ditches the sedentary life on the farm for an adventure in Antarctica, where she escapes the knife andand#160;lives her dream of pulling a sled with a team of dogs.
Whenand#160;a curious cat uncovers a terrible secret, a barnyard of full of memorable animal charactersand#160;hatch anand#160;unforgettable escape planand#160;in this illustrated chapter book in the tradition of Charlotteand#39;s Web.
When Burdock the barn cat sneaks into the Baxtersand#8217; farmhouse kitchen to hide behind a warm stove, he overhears a sinister plot that endangers all the animals on the farm. Itand#8217;s up to him and his cacophonous cohorts to figure out how to bust out of the barn before it's too late. In this winning debut, readers will fall in love with the solitary cat, the self-effacing cow, the unstoppable pig, even a wayward she-owland#8212;all brought to life with clever dialogue, poetic descriptions, and expressive black-and-white illustrations. This warm, lively read-aloud story about teamwork and friendship has the timeless appeal of a much-loved quilt.
Flora the pig was born for adventure: and#8220;If itand#8217;s unexplored and needs to get dug up, call me. Iand#8217;m your pig,and#8221; she says. The day Flora spots a team of sled dogs is the day she sets her heart on becoming a sled pig. Before she knows it, sheand#8217;s on board a ship to Antarctica for the most exhilaratingand#8212;and dangerousand#8212;adventure of her life. This poignant novel of a purposeful pig is sure to become a favorite with any young readers who have ever dreamed of exploring the great beyond.
About the Author
Kathi Appelt, at the age of seven, stumbled and fell into an alligator pit in San Antonio, Texas, a place where there should be no alligators or alligator pits. Fortunately she was a lot bigger than the alligator, who was more scared of her than she was of it!
She is a member of the faculty at Vermont College's Master of Fine Arts program and occasionally teaches creative writing at Texas A&M University. She has two grown children, and lives in Texas with her husband and four cats. This is her debut novel.
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