"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Underneath

by Kate Appelt

I'm in the middle of another book about the American South but can't do a review until I'm finished, but it made me think of a children's book I recently came across and enjoyed very much.  The Underneath is a Newbery Honor book and tells the story of a dog who lives under the porch of a house.  Inside the house lives a mean and angry man.  He stays underneath the porch to stay safe from the man.  The dog is lonely until he makes friends with a lost cat and her kittens.  They make unlikely friends, which are some of the best friends anyone can have.

Appelt tells a wonderful tale of love, and writes with a southern voice that paints pictures rich with imagery and depth.  She incorporates a little of the southern tradition of magic and animal spirits, but in a way that makes you think and wonder, not in a way that makes it scary or dark.  The voice of the book reminded me of other well-loved books including The Yearling and Where the Red Fern Grows.  Like these other favorites, Appelt uses animals to tell a story about love and humanity.

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