When I saw The Underneath by Kathi Appelt at our children's library it piqued my interest. I know you can't judge a book by its cover, but a picture of a hound dog snuggled with a kitten just tugs at the heartstrings doesn't it? It was a National Book Award Finalist and a Newberry Honor Book and the publisher recommends it for ages 10 and up.
After reading for a few chapters a sad theme emerged and then a bit of a mystical theme with old mythical characters being introduced. My son had mentioned wanting to read it and after reading several chapters I was beginning to worry that it might be too "dark" for him to read. Not to mention one of those mythical creatures was a snake which didn't help my misgivings about the book (I have a huge phobia of snakes). Thankfully there were only a couple of sketches in the book.
The story did seem to get darker as the story unfolded, but by the end I was glad I had not given up in the middle of the story. The end brought the redeeming quality I had been looking for.
Appelt writes with a beautiful, poetic prose that moves at a gentle and unhurried pace. Other than the saddness that is evident it was quite the enjoyable book.