The Underneath

Appelt, Kathi

Hunter Dittman

Wednesday, March 5th


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Puck is a small grey cat, with a small crescent moon in the center of his forehead. He is playful with his twin sister, Sabine, and loving with his mother and the hound Ranger. He doesn't take learning how to hunt seriously, which he regrets later.


Sabine is Puck's twin sister, and she is a slightly lighter grey than her brother. Her face is a little rounder than her brother's, too. She loves her family very much, and also when she is learning how to hunt, she takes it very seriously, which helps her later.

Grandmother Moccasin

Grandmother Moccasin is a huge snake, who's scales are so black they look blue. She is one hundred feet long and as round as a smaller tree. Grandmother knows what loss feels like, she has felt it for more than a thousand years. She also knows how it feels to deeply love someone, and then be betrayed.

Night Song

Night Song was the same type of snake as Grandmother Moccasin, but not nearly as large. She had a beautiful voice that produced hypnotizing songs. She turned into a human and left Grandmother to be with a man. In her human form, Night Song's hair was so black it looked blue. She was truly beautiful, but she also knew what love, loss, and betrayal feels like.


Deep in a dense, forgotten forest, under the porch of a tilting, rotting, house, surrounded by trees thousands of years old, is the setting of this story.


In my story, a cat who has been forgotten by her owners, wanders into a dark forest and follows the lonely howl of a hound. When she gets there she knows this is where she and her unborn babies will stay.

Meanwhile, a snake who has been trapped in a jar underground for more than a thousand years knows her time will come soon. Her story is she wondered into a dark swamp and stayed there, but she was very lonely. One day her daughter found her and they loved each other very much. One day, her daughter, Night Song, fell in love with a hawk and they both morphed into humans and had a baby. Grandmother was furious. She made Night Song turn back into a snake, so she Night Song died of a broken heart. The man and daughter both turned back into birds, but not before Hawk Man fought Grandmother and put her in a jar and buried her, she did not die though.

The man that lived above the hound and cats killed the mother cat and then he took the hound to use as alligator bait. The two cats followed, but the alligator ended up eating the man! Grandmother's jar finally rose out of the ground and she came face to face with the hound (who was chained to the tree) and the cats. Instead of eating them, she understood their love for one another and just bit the chain and set them free. She had been shot by the man when the alligator was attacking him, so she crawled high into the tree and passed away. The cats and the hound went away from the titling house and lived a free, happy, loving life together.

The Newberry Medal Award

Fredric G. Melcher had the Newbery Medal designed in 1921 by Rene Paul Chambellan. It was established on June 22, 1921. This award is named after John Newbery, eighteenth century bookseller, because he made making books for children a priority. This medal gets awarded to the most distinguished American children's book published in the previous year. This medal can only be rewarded to an author that is in the United States, wrote the book in English, the book must be an original work (a book that was originally published in another country is not eligible). It is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik Willem van Loon, was awarded the first Newbery award. The Newbery is the most prestegous medal an author can get.

Kathi Appelt (author)

Kathi Appelt was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on July 6th, 1954. She grew up in Houston, Texas. Her education is Texas A&M University. Now she is 59 years old, has two sons (who are both musicians), and lives in College Station, TX with her husband and four cats. She serves on the facility at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA in Writing Children and Young Adults Program. She is an American children's writer and writing teacher. Her awards are the John Newberry Medal, Pen USA, and the Literary Award For Children's Literature. Her nomination is National Book Award For Young People's Literature. She is the author of more than 30 books. Her books have been translated into several languages (ex: Spanish, Chinese, French and Swedish). The Underneath is her first novel, and she was awarded the Newberry Award for it in 2008.

My Thoughts

I like this book very much. The scenes and settings were very easy to picture in my head because the author used so many descriptive words. At first, I was confused why the book was telling two stories at once, but at the end when it all came together it made sense. This book showed that love is a very important part of life. There were many emotions in this story, like sadness, happiness, thrill and love.

I think the reason this is an award-winning book is because she took two very different stories and hooked them together in an intricate way. She showed anyone who read this book the true meaning of love.

In my opinion, I do think this story fits the criteria. To get this award, your book has to be the most distinguished (American) children's book published in the previous year. I thought the book was very distinguished, and definitely fit for children. This was a very good book and a touching story.