The Underneath

  • by Kathi Appelt
  • Narrated by Gabra Zackman
  • 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.An abandoned calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the achingly lonely howl of a chained up, abused hound dog deep in 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 Sabine and Puck there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use her or her kittens as alligator bait should he find them. But, they are safe in the underneath...as 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.In the tradition of 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), the fragility of happiness - and the importance of making good on your promises.

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What the Critics Say

"A mysterious and magical story; poetic yet loaded with suspense." (Louis Sachar, Newbery Medal-winning author of Holes)
"The Underneath is as enchanting as a hummingbird, as magical as the clouds." (Cynthia Kadohata, Newbery Medal-winning author of Kira-Kira)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

dark and intense

Be prepared for a story with a lot of dark issues-- irredeemably bad characters, violence against animals and children. The story is beautifully told, but I think readers benefit from being prepared for the ride.

The narration of this rendition is fantastic! Wonderful pacing, clear articulation, and captures the essence of the book with her character voices and inflection. I was able to understand every word while driving in a car with the windows open!
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- Tara

read before your child

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I read this book before I was planning on giving it to a reading group of 5th graders. I just thought there was SO much negativity in the book...just a bit much I guess. Maybe I'm just in the holiday spirit and this book definitely was a bit of a "downer!"


What about Gabra Zackman’s performance did you like?

great voices


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- Kristine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-06-2008
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio