The Underneath (Thorndike Literacy Bridge Young Adult)

Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 7Grades 4 - 8Y5.256265

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 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.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published on January 5, 2010 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 1416950591
ISBN-13: 9781416950592
12 Book Reviews
  • Hamster_0PaWsSaturday, March 17, 2018 at 2:34 pm
    The Best!!
    • CuteBunniesTuesday, December 20, 2016 at 5:02 pm
      This story has more heart than head, but not so much heart that every page makes you cry. This story shuts down stereotypes about cats and dogs not getting along. This story is actually two stories in one: the first story is about two kittens and a dog who will die if they go into the swamp and the second story is about a kid trying to save his family's bake shop from becoming an alligator wrestling camp (the second story is not above, but, trust me, it is in there). Like the book The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp also by Kathi Appelt, it is set in the swamp.
      • booklover1969
        booklover1969Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 10:55 am
        I found this book hard to get into at first but by the end I kind of liked it. I warn my students that it is different and not for everyone but well written and touching.
        • chinagirl24
          chinagirl24Monday, February 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm55 stars
          I like this book because it is so good to read and it has feeling
          • chinagirl24
            chinagirl24Monday, February 9, 2015 at 12:11 pm55 stars
            I like this book because it is so good to read and it has feeling
            • rozeb
              rozebThursday, November 28, 2013 at 7:36 am33 stars
              This is a great book for animal & adventure lovers. This book wasn't really my type, but it was still good. I think hamster would like this book.
              • lunamoonamare
                lunamoonamareFriday, November 8, 2013 at 6:33 am55 stars
                This book is a good choice for people who are expanding their vocabulary. This book, surprisingly, has pictures. Charcters:a dog, a mother cat, 2 kittens, a teenage boy with a scar on his face(he changed his name to garface).
                • NameThursday, September 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm
                  this is a agood book
                  • quinny
                    quinnyThursday, May 9, 2013 at 11:46 am55 stars
                    this is such a good book.
                    • shimmer
                      shimmerThursday, February 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm
                      This book is amazing and totally sad!!!!