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Kathi Appelt

Teoksen The Underneath tekijä

45+ Works 6,841 Jäsentä 418 arvostelua 2 Favorited

About the Author

Kathi Appelt is the author of many picture books, as well as several books for older readers, including Kissing Tennessee: And Other Stories from the Stardust Dance, chosen as a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Kathi teaches writing näytä lisää to both children and adults. She lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband and their two sons näytä vähemmän

Sisältää nimet: Kathi Appelt, Kathi Appelt

Image credit: Photograph taken by Ken Appelt


Tekijän teokset

The Underneath (2008) 1,514 kappaletta
Bat Jamboree (1996) 769 kappaletta
Keeper (2010) 438 kappaletta
Bats on Parade (1999) 394 kappaletta
Bats Around the Clock (2000) 378 kappaletta
Oh My Baby, Little One (2000) 313 kappaletta
Maybe a Fox (2016) 313 kappaletta
Bubbles, Bubbles (1810) 218 kappaletta
Elephants Aloft (1993) 163 kappaletta
I See the Moon (1997) 110 kappaletta
Incredible Me! (2003) 95 kappaletta
Bubba and Beau, Best Friends (2002) 91 kappaletta
Counting Crows (2015) 87 kappaletta
Merry Christmas, Merry Crow (1656) 74 kappaletta
Brand-New Baby Blues (2009) 73 kappaletta
Mogie: The Heart of the House (2014) 64 kappaletta
Bubba and Beau Meet the Relatives (2004) 64 kappaletta
Angel Thieves (2019) 58 kappaletta
Once Upon a Camel (2021) 55 kappaletta
Watermelon Day (1996) 50 kappaletta
Piggies in a Polka (2003) 48 kappaletta
Max Attacks (2019) 47 kappaletta
Bubba and Beau Go Night-Night (2003) 42 kappaletta
The Best Kind of Gift (2003) 38 kappaletta
When Otis Courted Mama (2015) 37 kappaletta
Rain Dance (Harper Growing Tree) (2001) 33 kappaletta
Bayou Lullaby (1656) 31 kappaletta
The Alley Cat's Meow (2002) 30 kappaletta
Someone's Come to Our House (1656) 27 kappaletta
Toddler Two-Step (Growing Tree) (2000) 22 kappaletta
Where, Where Is Swamp Bear? (2002) 22 kappaletta
Cowboy Dreams (1999) 21 kappaletta
My Father's House (2007) 20 kappaletta
Thunderherd, The (1996) 18 kappaletta
A Red Wagon Year (1996) 9 kappaletta
Like Crazy 1 kappale

Associated Works

Merkitty avainsanalla




Representation: N/A
Trigger warnings: Death of a child, death of a sister, grief and loss depiction, death of a brother
Score: Eight points out of ten.

I decided to read this book a while back, and not long after, I finally read it. I didn't know what to expect, and I hoped that it would be better than the last book I read; I'm so glad I did since this was an intriguing book about grief, yet it also has a touch of fantasy, but I can say that I've read better books like this since then, where do I even begin. It starts with the main characters Sylvie and Jules, whose surnames I forgot, and initially, they live their lives together. They have fascinating characteristics since one is like a geologist, and the other is a fast runner. This is where the book first started to hit me like a truck when suddenly Sylvie ran too fast with nothing to stop her except a creek, and thus she ran into it and died there. For some reason, the book then cuts to another POV of a fox whose name I forgot if it even had one at all, and I think it was born after the death of Sylvie. I didn't know that could happen, but alright.

The book alternates between the two remaining characters as one tries to comprehend what just happened, and the fox tries to live the life it was given, and only a few pages later, they meet one another. However, I think there was a barrier between them. Even though this is quite heavy, the fantasy aspect of this book shines just a little more in the spotlight, hence why the library put this in the fantasy section. Did I mention another character, Elk, who interacted with Jules for a good portion of the book and dealt with his struggles? Even though I enjoyed reading all these characters, I've seen more fleshed-out ones. By the end of the book, Jules and Elk move on from their trauma, and the fox reaches the end of its arc, wrapping this up on a high note.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Law_Books600 | 24 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 3, 2023 |
Representation: N/A
Trigger warnings: Death
Score: Seven points out of ten.

Good book.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Law_Books600 | 42 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 3, 2023 |
Did this book make me cry? Only my dog can say for sure.

Many pictures illustrate the true story of the pack horse librarians of Kentucky. They put books, magazines, and newspapers into the hands of children and adults living in a book desert.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
FamiliesUnitedLL | 7 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 22, 2023 |
The Underneath is a middle school fantasy novel that tells two different stories simultaneously that eventually converge into one cohesive whole. In the present, Mama the calico cat is pregnant when she’s abandoned by the side of the road in the east Texas bayou. All alone, she hears the plaintive baying of a hound that speaks to her, so she follows his voice to a tumble-down shack in the middle of nowhere. She befriends the poor, old hound named Ranger, who has been chained to the porch for a long time. He urges her to stay in The Underneath, the space under the house where they’ll be safe from Gar Face, the mean man who lives there and who will no doubt try to use the sweet cat as alligator bait if he finds her. There Mama gives birth to two kittens, Sabine and Puck, which she and Ranger care for, telling them to always stay in The Underneath. But as Puck gets older, his curiosity gets the best of him, and one day he leaves the safety of The Underneath with disastrous consequences that leave him separated from his family and fighting for survival as he struggles to keep a promise he made to Mama.

Alongside the story of the dog and three cats is another narrative that takes place a thousand years ago in the same area, told in the style of a Native American myth from the perspective of the ancient trees that see all. It tells the story of Grandmother Moccasin, who is a lamia, half-snake, half-human. She once took on her human form and fell in love with a human man who betrayed her, so she retook her snake form and can never become human again, for once an enchanted creature such as this returns to their animal form, that’s how they’ll stay for eternity. She wandered the bayou with her only friend being an enormous hundred-foot-long alligator. She was lonely for a long time until she crossed paths with another young lamia, Night Song, who became her adopted daughter. But when Night Song grew up, she fell in love with Hawk Man, and the two of them took on their human forms to be together, leaving Grandmother feeling once again betrayed. From then on, she lived in anger and resentment until a selfish and fateful decision led to terrible consequences that ended with Grandmother being imprisoned in a clay jar for the next thousand years. In the present, she’s still alive in that jar buried deep beneath the roots of an old loblolly pine that sits on the banks of the Little Sorrowful creek, and in the nearby bayou, King Alligator still lives, too, presenting a temptation to Gar Face, who views him as the ultimate prize. The story of these animals and magical creatures eventually weave together in surprising ways.

The Underneath is aimed at middle-school readers with the back of the book stating for ages 10 and up. I definitely think it would be best suited to this age group. While younger kids might be tempted by the picture of the sad hound dog and cute kittens on the cover, it does cover some challenging themes that they might have difficulty processing. Gar Face is a miserable excuse for a human being, but he didn’t become as mean as he is in a vacuum. There’s a flashback scene where he’s abused by his father, which leads to him running away and ending up in the swamp where he now lives. Untreated injuries from the abuse is what caused his face to become deformed and him to be known by the nickname Gar Face. He’s also implied to be an alcoholic, drinking heavily and frequently due to his unhappiness. Grandmother Moccasin is angry for different reasons, and she allows her bitterness to fester until she doesn’t tell her daughter the truth about something, leading to irrevocable consequences. However, she is redeemed in the end, and I think her earlier actions could be used as an object lesson for kids about the dangers of lying and selfishness. Three characters die, one out of selflessness, one of a broken heart, and one out of greed. Death can be a difficult topic for kids, but I think it can be helpful to process it through the safe lens of a story. The reasons that lead to each character’s death could be used as talking points as well.

The issue that might be the most difficult, though, is the animal abuse and neglect that occurs throughout the story. Gar Face seems to only view animals as commodities or prizes, and even a pet, once it’s outlived its usefulness, is no longer important to him. Poor Ranger has been chained to the house for a long time with an untreated injury, he often isn’t fed properly, and later in the story he’s further abused for daring to defend his only friend. Each of the cats ends up suffering in various ways because of Gar Face’s actions, too. I don’t want to make the story sound too bad or scary, though, because the nature of it allows other characters to step up and show goodness, and it has a positive ending. Most middle-schoolers could probably handle the material. I’d just say know your child’s sensitivity level before allowing them to read it, and that it might best be read with parent or educator guidance. There’s even a helpful reading guide at the back with discussion questions and suggested activities.

I’d have to say that The Underneath didn’t end up being quite what I expected. The cover image and the book blurb make it seem like the story is all about Ranger and the kitties, perhaps something akin to The Incredible Journey, so the whole storyline about Grandmother Moccasin, Night Song, and the other enchanted creature characters was a bit of a surprise. I enjoyed each part of the narrative individually, but at first, I wasn’t entirely sure what they had to do with one another. However, I can say that they do eventually merge in an interesting way. The book was a Newberry Honor Book and a National Book Award finalist, and I can see why. The writing itself is quite beautiful and has a lyrical quality to it that almost made it the equivalent of literary fiction for children. Because of this, the style may not grab some kids, and reluctant readers may find it to be a harder read. Although there is adventure within the story, it’s rather slow-paced, but it still held my attention and probably would appeal to a certain subset of kids who are more literary-minded readers.

I already outlined some of the possible detractors, but there are many important and thought-provoking themes as well that could have a positive impact on kids, too, if properly explored. There’s the concept of what it means to be a family and how some families are those of our choosing rather than biology. Ranger and the cats make a very odd family, but a family they are, and a very compelling one, at that. Their love for one another is sweet, pure, and unmistakable. In fact, the power of love—and hate—and how these emotions can affect lives for good or ill is palpable throughout. There’s also the idea that promises shouldn’t be made lightly, and that once made, one should do everything in their power to follow through with it, even if it’s challenging. There are additional positive themes of determination, selflessness, empathy, kindness, and sharing even if you have little. I think that sometimes it takes seeing the struggle and how bad the world can be to really see the good in it, and for this reason, I think the story could have great value to kids. I would recommend it to middle-schoolers and up, even adults like myself, who would be interested in an accessible story that has deeper meaning and a lovely writing style.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
mom2lnb | 121 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 17, 2023 |



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