A Blog of Children's Literature

Gregor the Overlander April 13, 2011

Filed under: Adventure and Fantasy — akibird @ 3:21 pm
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Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (2003)

Fantasy, 320 pages

11-year-old Gregor quickly becomes the man of the house when his dad mysteriously disappeared two years ago, while his mother was pregnant with Margaret. Gregor’s little sister Margaret, or “Boots,” now 2 years old, is his responsibility as his grandma is going senile and his mother has to work to provide for their now one-parent family. Gregor prepares for the hot boring summer as he watches Boots and does laundry in his family’s New York City apartment building basement. However, his dull summer plans quickly change as Boots mysteriously disappears into an air vent in the laundry room with him chasing frantically behind. What follows is similar to O’Roark’s Falling In and Carroll’s famous Alice and Wonderland when Gregor lands in the Underland and meets a group of translucent-skinned humans and a cast of talking creatures who have been living in this underground world. Initially, Gregor just wants to make it home with Boots before his mother gets home from work and he gets in serious trouble. However, his feelings change when he finds his father is being held prisoner by rats, and he must depend on the kindness of human-sized cockroaches, bats, spiders, and a rogue rat to lead him to his father and save his travel Underland companions. Completely overwhelmed Gregor realizes that everyone thinks he is the warrior, the one who has come to fulfill the Prophecy of Gray and save the Underland from rat domination. With just as much action and internal questioning as Katniss in Collins’ bestselling The Hunger Games, the author creates a young hero who must set his priorities and show courage in the face of adversity. With a little bit more humor and less focus on themes of politics and dictating regimes, Gregor the Overlander speaks to a younger reading audience who is still drawn to the same spirit as that in Collins’ second series. I would definitely recommend this book to 9-year-olds and up who enjoy adventure and getting lost in a little fantasy.


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