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.
A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of 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 her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them 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. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as 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.
Remembers how he stole her daughter. Her eyes blaze in the unforgiving dark. Venom pools in her cotton white mouth. Sssssssoooonnnnnnn!!! 21 BEFORE A MAN becomes a man, he has to be a boy. Gar Face was a boy when he walked into this forest, a boy whose face was battered and scarred, a boy who left behind the tar-covered wharves of the Houston Ship Channel. When he first stumbled into the woods wet and humid, every part of him ached. His face ached from the swollen wound placed there by
—The Wall Street Journal Online “Every so often a literary work of surpassing beauty arrives in the unlikely guise of a book for children or young teens. There is a deep and inexplicable magic underlying the apparent simplicity of such works. From the gemlike Goodnight Moon to novels such as The Wind in the Willows or A Wrinkle in Time, children’s literature is that place where a young, open mind can catch life-changing glimpses of the majesty of the written word. Twin narratives, spinning like
high-pitched growl of a furious hound. Hear it. Like the low whine of a chain saw biting into tree bark. Hear it. A hound gone wild with fury. Hear it. A hound grown crazy with anger. Ranger didn’t know how many days had passed since he had watched Gar Face stuff the calico cat and her boy kitten into that burlap bag, had thrown them into the back of the pickup truck, the one that leaked a dark puddle of oil onto the ground beside the tilting house, but to him it was like yesterday, like it
towering trees. And as he walked, he saw the creek beside him, rising ever higher. He would never get across it now. Never. Suddenly he was overwhelmed by it all. Such a deep and utter Missing. Missing his twin, his match. Missing his Ranger, with his large silky ears, and his furry belly that he used to climb, his lullaby, missing that lullaby. Missing his mama, her calico coat, her rough tongue on his head. Missing. Now he knew where Ranger and Sabine were, but they might as well be on a
moon, good for wishing, good for praying. But so far it had not shown its creamy face. Keeper rubbed the charm around her neck with her fingertips, let it fall against her new cotton T-shirt. The cold of it seeped through the shirt’s fabric, it made a small chill, like a cold dent in her skin, where it rested right against the top of her breastbone. She took a deep breath. The dark air above the pond was thick and heavy on her shoulders, soggy. B.D. whined, his voice a small please. Please, can