Calico Reaction (calico_reaction) wrote in bookish,
Calico Reaction

Appelt, Kathi: The Underneath

The Underneath
Writer: Kathi Appelt
Drawings By: David Small
Genre: Children's Lit (Ages 9-12)
Pages: 311

It's been forever since I've read a book that's truly considered Children's Lit. Okay, so forever really means a couple of years, but the last time I read a children's lit book, it was because I had to for school. Not so here.

Here, we have a title recommended to me by the wondrous a good friend, who had the title recommended to her by her grad school mentor. Me, being practically unable to resist a book about cats, promptly put the sucker on my wishlist. In fact, I almost bought it back in June, but I was worried it might show up as a graduation gift, so I waited.

Since it didn't, I picked it up as soon as I saw it again. I also made it my priority to read it as soon as possible, and hey, with all the dark stuff I'm reading lately, I'm glad. I had a little trouble getting used to the prose, but it's a GOOD book, multi-layered in folklore and myth, and there's a certain poetry to the prose. It almost reminds me of something Ursula K. Le Guin would write (I'm remembering her CATWINGS tales).

The premise: Despite the dangers of a house in the middle of nowhere, an abandoned calico cat, pregnant with kittens, is drawn to the beauty of an old hound's song. The hound, Ranger, is chained to the tilting house of his awful master, Gar Face, and protects his new friend and her children from the horrors that await then should they leave the safety of the underneath of the house. Entwined with this tale is also that of a lamina, Grandmother Moccasin, trapped inside a jar at the base of a loblolly pine for a thousand years. She tells her tale of love and betrayal, and waits for the chance to be set free once more.

The full review is in my LJ, and fair warning, as it does contain spoilers. Comments and discussion are always welcome, and I'd love to hear what others have thought of this! :)


Happy Reading! :)

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