Kathi Appelt (Juvenile Fiction)
This is a tale of two love stories separated by one thousand years. The first is of a possessive, jealous, and cruel love. It is about an enchantress, a king, and a family of three. The second tale tells of a selfless, devoted, and pure love. It is about a brave mother, a set of twins, and a gifted but abused blues singer. But like so many tales, these two worlds eventually collide and when they do, which love will prove to be the strongest?
Appelt offers up a modern-day fairytale that gives readers heroes, villains, magic, mystery, and danger. Like most fairytales, we can count on the villain getting his comeuppance, the misguided antagonist having a change of heart, and the power of true love winning in the end. The book has very short chapters and makes for an easy read for younger readers (or an ideal bedtime book to be shared and read aloud). The story has some instances of animal cruelty, so parents of sensitive readers should be warned. Also, although Appelt gives us a truly suspenseful tale, it does stall near the middle and needlessly prolongs the action. At just over 300 pages, this may frustrate some readers, but perseverance has its rewards and a satisfying ending awaits the patient reader.
Time and time again our little protagonists are told to “Stay in the Underneath. You’ll be safe in the Underneath.” And true enough, safely tucked underneath this dust jacket is a wonderful tale of devotion, friendship, family, and the importance of a promise kept.
* Book cover image attributed to www.goodreads.com