Brain Candy Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | September 21, 2015

    Annie Jacobsen: IMG Mirrors on the Moon: A Reporter's Story about Sources and Secrets in the Modern World

    As a national security reporter, I write about war, weapons, security, and secrets. The question most commonly asked of me is, "How do you get... Continue »
    1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $17.99
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Children's- Newbery Award Winners

Other titles in the Newbery Medal - Honors Title series:

The Underneath

by and

The Underneath Cover

ISBN13: 9781416950585
ISBN10: 1416950583
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $6.50!





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 small calico cat. Her family, the one she lived with, has left her in this old a nd forgotten forest, this forest where the rain is soaking into her soft fur.

How long has she been walking? Hours? Days? She wasn't even sure how she got here, so far from the town where she grew up. Something about a car, something about a long drive. And now here she is. Here in this old forest where the rain slipped between the branches and settled into her fur. The pine needles were soft beneath her feet; she heard the water splash onto the puddles all around, noticed the evening roll in, the sky grow darker.

She walked and walked, farther and farther from the red dirt road. She should have been afraid. She should have been concerned about the lightning, slicing the drops of rain in two and electrifying the air. She should have been worried in the falling dark. But mostly she was lonely.

She walked some more on the soft pine needles until at last she found an old nest, maybe a squirrel's, maybe a skunk's, maybe a porcupine's; it's hard to tell when a nest has gone unused for a long time, and this one surely had. She was grateful to find it, an old nest, empty, a little dry, not very, but somewhat out of the rain, away from the slashes of lightning, here at the base of a gnarled tupelo tree, somewhere in the heart of the piney woods. Here, she curled up in a tight ball and waited, purred to her unborn babies. And the trees, the tall and kindly trees, watched over her while she slept, slept the whole night through. Copyright © 2008 by Kathi Appelt


AHH,THE TREES. On the other side of the forest, there is an old loblolly pine. Once, it was the tallest tree in the forest, a hundred feet up it reached, right up to the clouds, right beneath the stars. Such a tree. Now broken in half, it stands beside the creek called the Little Sorrowful.

Trees are the keepers of stories. If you could understand the languages of oak and elm and tallow, they might tell you about another storm, an earlier one, twenty-five years ago to be exact, a storm that barreled across the sky, filling up the streams and bayous, how it dipped and charged, rushed through the boughs. Its black clouds were enormous, thick and heavy with the water it had scooped up from the Gulf of Mexico due south of here, swirling its way north, where it sucked up more moisture from the Sabine River to the east, the river that divides Texas and Louisiana.

This tree, a thousand years old, huge and wide, straight and true,would say how it lifted its branches and welcomed the heavy rain, how it shivered as the cool water ran down its trunk and washed the dust from its long needles. How it sighed in that coolness.

But then, in that dwindling of rain, that calming of wind, that solid darkness, a rogue bolt of lightning zipped from the clouds and struck. Bark flew in splinters, the trunk sizzled from the top of the crown to the deepest roots; the bolt pierced the very center of the tree.

A tree as old as this has a large and sturdy heart, but it is no match for a billion volts of electricity.The giant tree trembled for a full minute, a shower of sparks and wood fell to the wet forest floor. Then it stood completely still. A smaller tree might have jumped, might have spun and spun and spun until it crashed onto the earth. Not this pine, this loblolly pine, rooted so deep into the clay beside the creek; it simply stood beneath the blue-black sky while steam boiled from the gash sixty feet up, an open wound.This pine did not fall to the earth or slide into the creek. Not then.

And not now. It still stands. Most of its branches have cracked and fallen.The upper stories have long ago tumbled to the forest floor. Some of them have slipped into the creek and drifted downstream, down to the silver Sabine, down to the Gulf of Mexico. Down.

But the trunk remains, tall and hollow, straight and true. Right here on the Little Sorrowful, just a mile or so from a calico cat, curled inside her dry nest, while the rain falls all around. Copyright © 2008 by Kathi Appelt


MEANWHILE, DEEP BENEATH the hard red dirt, held tightly in the grip of the old tree's roots, something has come loose. A large jar buried centuries ago. A jar made from the same clay that lines the bed of the creek, a vessel with clean lines and a smooth surface, whose decoration was etched by an artist of merit. A jar meant for storing berries and crawdads and clean water, not for being buried like this far beneath the ground, held tight in the web of the tree's tangled roots. This jar. With its contents: A creature even older than the forest itself, older than the creek, the last of her kind. This beautiful jar, shaken loose in the random strike of lightning that pierced the tree's heart and seared downward into the tangled roots. Ever since, they have been loosening their grip.

Trapped, the creature has waited. For a thousand years she has slipped in and out of her deep, deep sleep, stirred in her pitch-black prison beneath the dying pine. Sssssooooonnnn, she whispered into the deep and solemn dark, my time will come. Then she closed her eyes and returned to sleep. Copyright © 2008 by Kathi Appelt


IT WASN'T THE chirring of the mourning doves that woke the calico cat, or the uncertain sun peeking through the clouds, or even the rustling of a nearby squirrel. No, it was the baying of a nearby hound. She had never heard a song like it, all blue in its shape, blue and tender, slipping through the branches, gliding on the morning air. She felt the ache of it. Here was a song that sounded exactly the way she felt.

Oh, I woke up on this bayou,
Got a chain around my heart.
Yes, I'm sitting on this bayou,
Got a chain tied 'round my heart.
Can't you see I'm dyin'?
Can't you see I'm cryin'?
Can't you throw an old dog a bone?
Oh, I woke up, it was rainin',
But it was tears came fallin' down.
Yes, I woke up, it was rainin',
But it was tears came fallin' down.
Can't you see I'm tryin'?
Can't you hear my cryin'?
Can't you see I'm all alone?
Can't you throw this old dog a bone?

She cocked her ears to see which direction it came from. Then she stood up and followed its bluesy notes, deeper and deeper into the piney woods. Away from the road, from the old, abandoned nest, away from the people who had left her here with her belly full of kittens. She followed that song. Copyright © 2008 by Kathi Appelt


FOR CATS, A hound is a natural enemy. This is the order of things. Yet how could the calico cat be afraid of a hound who sang, whose notes filled the air with so much longing? But when she got to the place where the hound sang, she knew that something was wrong.

She stopped.

In front of her sat a shabby frame house with peeling paint, a house that slumped on one side as if it were sinking into the red dirt. The windows were cracked and grimy. There was a rusted pickup truck parked next to it, a dark puddle of thick oil pooled beneath its undercarriage. She sniffed the air. It was wrong, this place. The air was heavy with the scent of old bones, of fish and dried skins, skins that hung from the porch like a ragged curtain.

Wrong was everywhere.

She should turn around, she should go away, she should not look back. She swallowed. Perhaps she had taken the wrong path? What path should she take? All the paths were the same. She felt her kittens stir. It surely wouldn't be safe to stay here in this shabby place.

She was about to turn around, when there it was again — the song, those silver notes, the ones that settled just beneath her skin. Her kittens stirred again, as if they, too, could hear the beckoning song. She stepped closer to the unkempt house, stepped into the overgrown yard. She cocked her ears and let the notes lead her, pull her around the corner. There they were, those bluesy notes.

Oh, I woke up, it was rainin',
But it was tears came fallin' down.
Yes, I woke up, it was rainin',
But it was tears came fallin' down.
Can't you see I'm tryin'?
Can't you hear my cryin'?
Can't you see I'm all alone?
Can't you throw this old dog a bone?

Then she realized, this song wasn't calling for a bone, it was calling for something else, someone else. Another step, another corner. And there he was, chained to the corner of the back porch. His eyes were closed, his head held back, baying.

She should be afraid, she should turn around and run, she should climb the nearest tree. She did not. Instead, she simply walked right up to this baying hound and rubbed against his front legs. She knew the answer to his song, for if she could bay, her song would be the same.


Right here.

Ranger. Copyright © 2008 by Kathi Appelt

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

bscheldt, July 14, 2009 (view all comments by bscheldt)
This is such a wonderful story! Using what seems like an Indian legend and animals, the story teaches about keeping promises and being loyal. I feel it is a great book to read for children or adults. I loved it!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
Yonathan, March 19, 2009 (view all comments by Yonathan)
I've stated before that if a book can make me laugh hysterically or cry hysterically, it's guaranteed a good review because it means the author has gone above and beyond. That is the case with THE UNDERNEATH. Except, a good review isn't enough for this book. It is not. I only hope that my review can begin to do justice to this amazing work.

THE UNDERNEATH is lyrical, strong, and extremely well-written. It is thought provoking and "can't put it down" fantastic. Kathy Appelt does not lower the bar in the slightest from page one until the book is done. Not one bit.

Appelt weaves a brilliant tale about an old, beaten-down hound dog and the felines he loves. She also weaves an almost entirely separate folktale of a miserable, bitter, shape-shifting snake. How do these two stories fit into the same book? Ask Kathi Appelt, because I'm still trying to figure out how she beautifully intertwined them. But she did. She did.

In the acknowledgements, Appelt mentions advice from M.T. Anderson (THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING) that she took to heart: "Write what you think you can't." Obviously, this author put her heart and her soul into the writing of a beautiful book, and it has paid off with a tale that will last for generations.

You know that gut feeling you get when you read a book like CHARLOTTE'S WEB or THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE? That Lasting feeling? Lasting wraps itself around you and urges you to read this book carefully because you'll want it in good condition on your shelf for a long time to come. That is this book. This perfect and Lasting book.

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(18 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
Sarah Miller, October 31, 2008 (view all comments by Sarah Miller)
Ashley Bryan nailed it:
"The Underneath reads like a ballad sung."

Does it ever. You don't often find a novel with rhythm and cadence like this. Matter of fact, I'd go even further than Mr. Bryan -- I'd tell you that The Underneath reads like a round. A handful of characters and stories all sharing the same melody weave in and around each other until they end together in the final note. There's a fair amount of repetition in here that might make some readers itchy, but think of it this way: when you sing a song, you have to repeat the chorus every now and then. Just let the tune carry you, and have a good soak in the ideas and images floating by.

Now, I've been known to secretly roll my eyes when someone claims a book 'begs to be read aloud,' but darn it, Kathi Appelt's convinced me. She must have positively wallowed in the oral tradition before she wrote this baby. The narrative voce is just the right combination of wise and folksy, and you never escape the feeling that someone's telling you a story. Done right, The Underneath will make for one knockout audiobook.

This is a rich, rich story, which doesn't flinch from tenderness nor darkness, but neither is it lurid or sappy. It has heart, plain and simple. If you harbor affection for critters, folklore, Native American legends, the bayous of Texas and Louisiana, or just darn good writing, then wow -- treat yourself. I'm pretty much agog, and if you ask me, I'l tell you I think it's a Contender.

I should probably say something about the art, but any time I think of David Small I invariably drift off into a daydream wherein I'm a cat living under his porch, with his wife Sarah Stewart feeding me bowls of cream...
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

Kathi Appelt and David Small
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Small, David
Kurtz, Chris
Bond, Rebecca
Appelt, Kathi
Small, David
General Juvenile Fiction
Animals - General
Action & Adventure - Survival Stories
Action & Adventure - General
Social Issues - General
Animals - Cats
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Action & Adventure
Animals - Farm Animals
barnyard;Charlotte s Web;animals;friendship;escape;mystery;chapter book;cats;sec
Edition Description:
Picture book
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 5 up to 9
Black-and-white illustrations
7 x 5 in 0.68 lb
Age Level:

Other books you might like

  1. The Girl Who Could Fly
    Used Trade Paper $3.50
  2. Savvy
    Used Trade Paper $4.95
  3. My One Hundred Adventures Used Hardcover $2.95
  4. After Tupac and D Foster
    New Trade Paper $7.99
  5. Hate That Cat Used Trade Paper $4.00
  6. Chameleon's Colors (Michael... Used Trade Paper $4.95

Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Animals » Cats
Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Middle Readers » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Situations » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Violence

The Underneath Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Atheneum Books - English 9781416950585 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A mysterious and magical story; poetic yet loaded with suspense."
"Review" by , "The Underneath is as enchanting as a hummingbird, as magical as the clouds."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
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.
"Synopsis" by ,

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.

"Synopsis" by ,
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.
"Synopsis" by , 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.
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at