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The Underneath

Books:
Title: The Underneath
Author: Kathi Appelt
Year Published: 2008
Rating: 4 stars
For Ages: 9 years and up

An abandoned calico cat teams up with an abused dog to raise her kittens in rural Louisiana.  This lyrical story also features an abused man who has become a monster, the largest alligator in the bayou, and a mythical snakelike creature.  The story is about hardship, survival, and love.  It's one of those challenging stories with beautiful language and strong themes that lifts a child's understanding of literature to another level, but usually only if they have an adult supporting them through the story.  So, The Underneath would be a good choice for a classroom read aloud or family read with lots of discussion. The audiobook version is excellent. [I listened to the audiobook version through Audible books on my music player.]