The Underneath, by Kathi Appelt. 2009 Newbery Honor Book. Fans of books such as “Watership Down” and “Heavenly Horse of the Outermost West” and the like will enjoy this one. The narrative style is very conversational; indeed, I think this could be a fun book to read outloud to older gradeschoolers. Ranger, an old hound dog, befriends a calico cat. THe cat has two kittens, and their first and most important rule is to never, ever leave The Underneath, the sheltered space between the ground and the house above them. For Ranger’s owner is the cruel, heartless Gar Face, who would use them as alligator bait. Of course, however, kittens will be kittens — curious and playfull. One day, one of them does stray out of the safety of The Underneath, and sets of a chain of events, with entities going back more than a thousand years. This story leaps back and fourth in time, doling out the multiple stories in bits and pieces. But I personally found it very easy to follow and very engaging. I would save this for older gradeschoolers; one character dies, and Gar Face is truly a nasty, evil and cruel character.