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Download The Underneath Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Underneath Audiobook, by Kathi Appelt Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,884 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathi Appelt Narrator: Gabra Zackman Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2008 ISBN: 9780743572095
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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, hate), the fragility of happiness -- and the importance of making good on your promises. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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
  • Rarely do I come across a book that makes me catch my breath, that reminds me why I wanted to be a writer -- to make of life something beautiful, something enduring. The Underneath is a book of ancient themes -- love and loss and betrayal and redemption -- woven together in language both timeless and spellbinding. A classic. Alison McGhee, author of the New York Times bestselling Someday
  • Kathi Appelt's novel, The Underneath, reads like a ballad sung. Ashley Bryan, Hans Christian Anderson Award Nominee and Three-Time Coretta Scott King Award Medalist
  • “A mysterious and magical story; poetic yet loaded with suspense.” 

    Louis Sachar, Newbery Medal–winning author of Holes

  • “Rarely do I come across a book that makes me catch my breath, that reminds me of why I wanted to be a writer…A classic.” 

    Alison McGhee, New York Times bestselling author of Someday

  • “Haunting in tone and resonance, The Underneath weaves a heartrending and magical tale that speaks to love and hope, loneliness and loss, ancestral forgiveness and a deep abiding reverence for the natural world that surrounds us, the ethereal world that entices our imagination and the real world that may bruise us, haunt us, but eventually set us free.” 

    National Book Foundation

  • “Joining Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting as a rare example of youth fantasy with strong American underpinnings.” 

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A 2009 Newbery Honor Book
  • An ALA Notable Book
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • #1 Amazon Best Books of the Year
  • A 2008 National Book Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa Kasso | 2/20/2014

    " Fantastic book! It was a little difficult for me to get into at first and the vocabulary was challenging, but stick with it. Definitely a sad story, however, the ending is still fulfilling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 2/17/2014

    " Totally NOT my kind of book, but I wound up liking it a lot anyway. She uses an odd sing-songy repetitious sort of prose style that works really well overall but that I found irritating at times. Nice interweaving of animal story, myth and history, as well as fully evoked bayou environment. Especially loved the role of the trees and all their gorgeous names. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sm | 2/17/2014

    " I think it was a really cool book.I liked it a lot.I wish I could be a shape shifter.because they sound really cool.A shape shifter is a thing that can change from an animal to a human and back.But only once in its life time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ms | 2/7/2014

    " I loved this book! It was great the idae of the shape shifter and love holding the family together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/25/2014

    " Very mystic. Doesn't seem good for youth--too mature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cui | 1/24/2014

    " This book is really emotionally attracting watching how these homeless animals interact. A Cats owner abandoned the kitten and leave them in a forest with all sorts of unknown dangerous creatures. In the beginning the author really does well at making you want to know whats going on because the homeless cat who just got 2 kittens are all by them self. They met a dog who lives in a place named "The underneath" and theres where the title comes from. Their owner is just a mean guy and tries to kill the cats, this book shows the family relationship of cats and the wonderful time the animals have together trying to stay away from the danger of the outside world. I would recommend this book to people who loves cats and dogs especially because this book really shows that they can have a friendship instead of always going against each other. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maddie | 1/16/2014

    " Superb book but it needed more hope!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thyra | 1/11/2014

    " A really wonderful book, with lots of intensity. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Yvonne | 12/16/2013

    " Haunting, original, not-for-snake-or reptile-phobics, I would NOT recommend this book to many children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon Skinner | 11/18/2013

    " Heart rending and brilliant. A lovely story told in a deep south storyteller's style, using incredibly poetic language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 11/10/2013

    " Read this book with my son when he was 8 to help him read books over the summer. He beat me to the end he couldn't put it down, at one point in tears saying how much he hated but loved it. I love this book, loved that it could bring out the emotion it did with an 8 year old boy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 4/6/2013

    " I liked it, but it was weird, or should I say original. Totally different from what I expected, yet everything ties together in the end. Beautifully written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mokamonkey | 2/11/2013

    " I felt like the parallel story in this one with grandmother moccassin took you out of the main story too much. Sometimes it would just go on and on. I did think the repeated text in the story was interesting though - it made it feel more like a storytelling experience than a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin Casteel | 10/26/2012

    " Beautifully written. Complex plot structure. Dog and cat story. Who knew those could go together? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela Germany | 5/21/2012

    " I just thought it was okay. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 The Reading Countess | 3/6/2012

    " I rate this one a 2 starred book simply because I do know that it connected with one reader in my classes...one. Because of that, I rate it that high. Me? I found it dark and confusing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann | 5/17/2011

    " Even though there was a positive twist at the end, I would not read this to my fourth grade students. The only human was a sad drunk. Some beautiful word choice and description. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 5/11/2011

    " Very well written and moving tale. Its theme is dark but important. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 5/10/2011

    " It's right up there with Watership Down for emotional impact - a tale of two kittens and the old hound who adopts them in the Texas swampland. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elena | 5/3/2011

    " I liked this a whole lot more than I thought I would. The writing is beautiful; the story is haunting and endearing all at the same time. It's just a really good easy read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sierra | 4/30/2011

    " A pretty good book... not my favorite "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 4/28/2011

    " This is a great book! I really enjoyed it. It's sad, though. My favorite character is Ranger! This book deserves 5 stars! The author, Kathi Appelt, came to my school! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 4/28/2011

    " This book was different and yet I enjoyed reading it at the same time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine | 4/27/2011

    " This took a long time to get through. Although the repetitive fashion of the writing seems like it would be very child-friendly, I am not so sure that the story would be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Libby | 4/11/2011

    " Beautiful writing, wonderful animal characters. Looking at the reviews it appears most either love or hate this book. It is one of the most lyrical of YA books that I've read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cyndie | 3/28/2011

    " Horrible. Depressing. Bloody. And boring.

    I would never give this book to a child to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 3/27/2011

    " What a world, Kathi. What a poetically built world. We loved this! My son and I read this one together. "

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About the Author
Author Kathi Appelt

Kathi Appelt is the author of the bestselling novel The Underneath, a Newbery Honor winner, National Book Award finalist, and PEN USA Literary Award winner; the highly acclaimed novel Keeper; and many picture books. She is a member of the faculty in Vermont College’s Master of Fine Arts program and occasionally teaches creative writing at Texas A&M University. She lives in Texas with her husband.

About the Narrator

Gabra Zackman is an actress and narrator who has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards. She was educated at Northwestern University and performed at many venues in Chicago before touring the country with Boston Chamber Theatre. She has been seen on television in Law & Order.