Donalyn's Reviews > The Underneath

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
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's review
Jun 27, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: children-s-fantasy
Recommended for: every reader on Earth
Read in July, 2008

I am not a good enough writer to tell you why you must read The Underneath.

I read a lot of books and I like most of them, but honestly, there are few that set themselves apart as books both magical and haunting, so well-crafted that the prose makes my heart ache with longing to read more and more.

The story is a simple one-- a calico cat, abandoned in the woods when she is pregnant, discovers the shack of a violent, broken man, known as Gar Face, who is so evil he shot his own dog. That dog, Ranger, has lived for years chained to the house, inhabiting the nasty space under it (The Underneath). The mother cat gives birth to her two kittens in this awful place and warns them to never leave the safe space under the house.

But kittens are curious...

Alongside the tale of the kittens and Gar Face, there is another story, an ancient one, of the woods and the history of sorrow and love that have marked that place for centuries.

These interwoven stories meet in a powerful conclusion.

More than an animal story, The Underneath reads like an old folktale, full of magical realism, and a setting so well-drawn it is a main character.

As a Texan, the Piney Woods between Houston and Louisiana are known to me, but I have never walked through them, until now. Appelt's personification of these woods and the animals and plants that live there is the most beautiful part of this book.

The writing is so good, so beautiful, so original, that if The Underneath does not win accolades from every book award committee in America, I don't know anything about books.
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03/29/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Brian I'm reading it for the first time this year. I'm having an identical reaction. So beautiful!

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