The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

The Underneath is a magical story set deep in the Bayou Tartine that twists the story of a calico cat and Ranger, a bloodhound, with the Native American legend of Grandmother Moccasin and the Alligator King.  Ranger, alone and sad, is chained to Gar Face’s porch.  Gar Face, a hard cruel man, is disgusted with Ranger, no longer uses him to hunt and neglects him.  It’s Ranger’s mournful howl that attracts the calico cat to the Underneath where she becomes Ranger’s dear friend. The calico cat gives birth to two kittens.  Ranger and the mother cat begin to raise Sabine and Puck together keeping them safe from Gar.  Meanwhile, Grandmother Moccasin waits imprisoned in a clay jar buried under an old tree that has been struck by lightning. She has waited a thousand years for her freedom and she knows it is near. She is bitter and angry. While she waits to escape her underground prison, she shares her sorrowful story. Like Grandmother Moccasin, Gar is bitter and angry but he is also mean and cruel.  He has is sights set on catching the Alligator King. 

If you enjoyed classic stories, like Sounder and The Yearling, or Where the Red Fern Grows and Shiloh, The Underneath is a must read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *