Atheneum Books, Paperback, 9781416950592, 320pp.
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
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 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.
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.
David Small is the Caldecott Award winning illustrator of "So You Want to Be President?" by Judith St. George. He also received Caldecott Honors for "The Gardener" by Sarah Stewart and "One Cool Friend" by Toni Buzzeo. He s illustrated dozens of other award-winning books, including "That Book Woman" by Heather Henson and "The Underneath" by Kathi Appelt, and lives in Michigan with his wife, Sarah Stewart.
"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
"Kathi Appelt's novel, The Underneath, reads like a ballad sung."
-- Ashley Bryan, Hans Christian Anderson Award Nominee and Three-Time Coretta Scott King Award Medalist