Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Underneath

Appelt, Kathi. 2008. THE UNDERNEATH. Ill. by David Small. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 1416950583 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-7]


The UNDERNEATH is about friendship, love, hate, sacrifice, revenge, death, and life in all its shades and colors. It's bittersweet but beautiful. Its sorrows and joys are pure and heartfelt. It is the story of lonely creatures—one calico cat, one hound dog, and two adorable kittens—finding solace together and creating a home such as it is—the underneath of a front porch of a horribly cruel man. Their home in the underneath is full of love and joy, but life outside is dangerous, cruel, and heartbreaking. When one kitten dares forth into the unknown, events are set in motion that will test everyone’s strength and will.

Appelt’s style is like a love letter to the English language. Her poetic style suits this prose novel achingly well.


Choose a scene from the novel to present dramatically or to illustrate.

Discuss how the setting—East Texas—is used thematically in the novel.


Other books about animal friendships:

Burnford, Sheila. THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. ISBN 0385322798

DiCamillo, Kate. BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE. ISBN 0763616052

Naylor, Phyllis. SHILOH. ISBN 0689835825

White, E.B. CHARLOTTE’S WEB. ISBN 0064410935

White, E.B. THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN. ISBN 0064410943

By Becky Laney

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