Customer Reviews for

The Underneath

Average Rating 4.5
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(50)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Not what I thought it was...

My mom talked me into buying this book, I was haveing a depresing day so she took me and my sister to the bookstore.
I wasn't really planning on getting it, but mom liked the whole animal theme, so I got it.

She started reading it to us, and it was good at first, ju...
My mom talked me into buying this book, I was haveing a depresing day so she took me and my sister to the bookstore.
I wasn't really planning on getting it, but mom liked the whole animal theme, so I got it.

She started reading it to us, and it was good at first, just what mom had expected, but then it got to Gar-face and stuff and we stoped reading it.

But I loved it, and kept reading it, and let me tell you, you have to remember every aspect of this book to get it. All of the storys kind-of weave together to make one thrilling marvelous story.

This book is about an abandoned calico cat, who finds a lonely hound dog who is owned by Gar-Face, an evil abused man. The cat is expecting kittens, and when the two bay cats are born they are told to never leave the underneath (under the porch), or Gar-Face would use them as croc bait. But when Puck, the boy kitten, gets a little curious, an adventure takes place, with betrayed snakes, large crocodiles, and shap-shifting birds. With surprises around every corner, this book is sure to keep your intrest.

Warning: this book may be scary for younger children, so probably not a good read-out-loud choice.

posted by alittlehobbitgirl on May 26, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

PARENTS BEWARE!

I guess I will have to go back to prereading books for my children in grades 3-6, even if the book has a Newberry Honor book award, after reading this not-for-the-young book. In the first 13 pages of The Underneath: a heartless family abandons a pregnant cat in the fore...
I guess I will have to go back to prereading books for my children in grades 3-6, even if the book has a Newberry Honor book award, after reading this not-for-the-young book. In the first 13 pages of The Underneath: a heartless family abandons a pregnant cat in the forest, a boy poisons his mother's birdfeeder and you get to hear about the dead birds and her sorrow (while the boy's delight in their suffering is explained as images of blood drip from her hands), a father is a drunkard with the alcohol named, a boy is abused with facial wounds so bad he is permanently disfigured, drunk father passes out, mother abandons family, boy runs away from home . . . does this really sound like a book you want to expose to your young children? It gets worse: revenge leading to suicide, deep anguish at the loss of a loved one, animal torture (dog shot on purpose and not cared for, dog malnourished, dog permanently left on small chain outdoors for years on end as chain becomes embedded in neck, dog kicked in sides, dog hit purposefully in the face with a board (you get to read in detail about the blood in the dogs nose and how it chokes and spits blood and its eyes are swollen shut), cats used as live bait for alligators, cats swung around by the neck, mother cat and kitten are thrown into a bag and then tossed alive into a swamp to drown (you get to read about how the human delights in the suffering of these innocents), and more. I am angry that I was duped by the review and the back cover. My daughter was rightfully upset reading this. I read it after her and was kicking myself that I didn't preread it. Thanks anyway, Newberry Awards, I will use my parental judgement on when to bring up "teachable moments" on alcohol and alcoholism, child abuse, animal abuse, suicide, murder, and runaways. This book might be for teens, but it is certainly NOT for elementary school children.

posted by no-nonsense on October 3, 2011

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    PARENTS BEWARE!

    I guess I will have to go back to prereading books for my children in grades 3-6, even if the book has a Newberry Honor book award, after reading this not-for-the-young book. In the first 13 pages of The Underneath: a heartless family abandons a pregnant cat in the forest, a boy poisons his mother's birdfeeder and you get to hear about the dead birds and her sorrow (while the boy's delight in their suffering is explained as images of blood drip from her hands), a father is a drunkard with the alcohol named, a boy is abused with facial wounds so bad he is permanently disfigured, drunk father passes out, mother abandons family, boy runs away from home . . . does this really sound like a book you want to expose to your young children? It gets worse: revenge leading to suicide, deep anguish at the loss of a loved one, animal torture (dog shot on purpose and not cared for, dog malnourished, dog permanently left on small chain outdoors for years on end as chain becomes embedded in neck, dog kicked in sides, dog hit purposefully in the face with a board (you get to read in detail about the blood in the dogs nose and how it chokes and spits blood and its eyes are swollen shut), cats used as live bait for alligators, cats swung around by the neck, mother cat and kitten are thrown into a bag and then tossed alive into a swamp to drown (you get to read about how the human delights in the suffering of these innocents), and more. I am angry that I was duped by the review and the back cover. My daughter was rightfully upset reading this. I read it after her and was kicking myself that I didn't preread it. Thanks anyway, Newberry Awards, I will use my parental judgement on when to bring up "teachable moments" on alcohol and alcoholism, child abuse, animal abuse, suicide, murder, and runaways. This book might be for teens, but it is certainly NOT for elementary school children.

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 26, 2011

    Not what I thought it was...

    My mom talked me into buying this book, I was haveing a depresing day so she took me and my sister to the bookstore.
    I wasn't really planning on getting it, but mom liked the whole animal theme, so I got it.

    She started reading it to us, and it was good at first, just what mom had expected, but then it got to Gar-face and stuff and we stoped reading it.

    But I loved it, and kept reading it, and let me tell you, you have to remember every aspect of this book to get it. All of the storys kind-of weave together to make one thrilling marvelous story.

    This book is about an abandoned calico cat, who finds a lonely hound dog who is owned by Gar-Face, an evil abused man. The cat is expecting kittens, and when the two bay cats are born they are told to never leave the underneath (under the porch), or Gar-Face would use them as croc bait. But when Puck, the boy kitten, gets a little curious, an adventure takes place, with betrayed snakes, large crocodiles, and shap-shifting birds. With surprises around every corner, this book is sure to keep your intrest.

    Warning: this book may be scary for younger children, so probably not a good read-out-loud choice.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

    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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    !

    Great book. The book was a bundle of ropes, in the end the whole book tied together in an unforgettable way.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2011

    FANTASTIC Book!!!

    I absolutely love, love, LOVE this book! I began building my home library for my young (5 and 8-year-old) children. I always read the books first to make sure there are no sensitive topics that I would rather avoid at their young age. Although alcoholism is mentioned, it is related to the very mean and abusive character 'Gar Face", which led to a great discussion on avoiding alcohol. I thoroughly enjoyed the story myself! Now my 8-year-old is reading it. He is really enjoying the book also. It's great for building his vocabulary and understanding mataphor. There is wonderful moral to the story, but I'll let you find it out for yourself! Such a wonderful book, destined to be a favorite of yours too!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    A Great Book

    This book was great and very interesting but the thing I did not like was how short the chapters were. Once you started a chapter it was over. I liked the kittens and the change in Grandmother Moccasin's heart at the end. I also like the poetic language and the way the book flows. I would recommend this book for a child or young adult.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    Fantastic tale

    I have read this book twice to my sons. Once at age 7 and 9; recently at ages 9 and 11. The Underneath created a lot of dialog about so many subjects. The characters were fascinating. How Grandmother Moccasin evolved, how Puck matured, and how Gar Face became what he was were deep discussions for my sons. They also enjoyed figuring out the mysteries of the book. There are many mysteries to solve and the author does a great job explaining most of them in the end. It did make a great read aloud; it kept my son's interested and complaining when we had to put the story on hold to go to bed.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    exquisite writing, enthralling storyline

    On its surface, this is the story of the family that is formed out of the friendship between an abused hound and an abandoned cat. But its multi-layered subtexts explore loss, pain, and the possibility for redemption. One of its messages might be that "hurt people hurt people"-and that ultimately, the only way to end this cycle is to let go of your right to hate by choosing to love.

    I can't praise this book highly enough. The story is poignantly beautiful, but its language is pure music. Appelt's writing style seems closer to poetry than prose, with lines like these: "Whenever there is a breeze in the old forest, you might, for a moment, realize that the trees are singing. There, on the wind, are the voices of sugarberry and juniper and maple, all telling you about this hound, this true-blue hound, tied to a post. They have been watching him all these years, listening to his song, and if he know what the trees were singing, it might be about how he found a friend" (25).

    Its themes are deep enough that its intended audience is ageless. My highest recommendation might be in that I've already bought it for a fourth grader, a children's lit professor, a high schooler, and my cousin in college. =)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    A gripping book for any animal lover

    The author has woven a compelling story with her poetic use of words. It was beautiful to read but heart-wrenching at times. The evil was hard to stomach and I shed tears for the animal characters but the climax and resolution was satisfying. It absorbed me as I turned pages to discover the ending and then I didn't want it to end. This story haunts me still. It is a book to treasure but don't leave it on a shelf afterwards. Pass it on to a friend who loves animals, the natural world--someone who can endure the agony of good vs. evil.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2008

    A reviewer

    Did not take a liking to it at all! The only parts that I really did like was the parts about the cat and the kittens. she could've left out all that nature bleh that didn't make sense. Two thumbs down! Sorry, Ms. Author of this book, but truly a very big disappointment. :(

    2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2013

    I wish that everyonein the world would read this book. Beautiful.

    Please read this book. It is just about the best book ever. It is so moving, and truly beautiful how everything comes together in the end. It's written in a kind of poetic way, and I love it. I wish that everyone in the world could read this book. I absolutely recommend it and rate it an 11 or more out of 10. Amazing. Truly Amazing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

    The author draws you in....tells you what you need to know...explains the enchantment of the surroundings with great understanding and knowledge...gently explains how the 'man' (Gar Face) - becomes evil, or would that be, uncaring? She tells the story of how the two almost mythical/mystical beings came to be...and then sits you right up front, unfolding the story of a hound, a mother cat, and her twin kittens.
    Charming, suspenseful, worrisom, fascinating...a book that I would read aloud to jr. hi students...The author has more than voice; she has song; she has soul.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Strong characters and mythically written

    I felt such a range of emotions while reading this incredible story. The way Appelt conveys wretched loneliness and the desperate hunger for companionship is haunting yet identifiable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    THIS BOOK IS AWESOME

    THIS BOOK IS AWESOME. YOU MUST READ IT.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2008

    A reviewer

    This was simply a wonderful and unique book to read. There were so many interesting characters. The book was written in such a way that I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened to each character in the end. I can't wait for others to read it and love it as much as I did!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Joan

    This is one of the most beautifully written books that l've read in like....forever.

    Thank you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    ┬┐There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at lea

    “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.” Just by the first sentence it captured my attention. Reading this book made me feel and realize many things. The novel made me feel sorry for this poor cat, and always made me feel that I had to keep reading the book. Also, it made me realize that unlike this cat who is lonely you should be grateful with the things you have.
    There is nothing lonelier then a calico cat having babies in her stomach, but being abandoned on the road. While walking she hears a song. A dog was singing the song. She knows that cats and dogs aren’t supposed to like each other, but the cat can really relate to the song. The dog’s name is Ranger. Ranger is a chained dog. Ranger helps the cat raise her kittens under a porch where they can be safe. Later on in the story a man that lives nearby is not afraid to kill any animals in his way. The man is named Gar Face. Gar Face tries to kill an Alligator King. The ending will leave you hanging and surprised.
    The novel always kept me wondering. I never wanted to put it down. In my opinion the book was phenomenal and one of my most favorite books I’ve read. It made me feel sorry for the cat, but the dog changed that feeling because he always supported her. The book had surprising events which made it the best parts.
    I definitely recommend this book. I recommend it to anyone who likes surprises, animals, and just if you are seeking for a book to read. The descriptive language was deep to really connect with you. It is not a series, but is still worth the time to read. It’s more like a realistic novel because some parts could happen in life. That’s what the novel The Underneath is all about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    Is

    It good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    This book =.......

    AWESOME

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Not as thrilling as I thought it would be

    This book was not the way I thought it would be. It got me interested for a little bit but then I couldn't pick it up again!
    I would rate this book two and a half stars.

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