Great Illustrated Books

Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles series)

By Suzanne Collins

Scholastic Press, 2003
Pages : 320
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 0439435366

Gregor's mother needs him to stay home this summer to take care of his two-year old sister, Boots, instead of going to camp. Since his father disappeared, two years, seven months, and thirteen days ago, twelve-year-old Gregor hasn't had a day when he's felt real happiness. Gregor knows his dad isn't dead-he would never abandon the family-and until he finds out where his dad is, he can't think about the future at all. In the laundry room of his New York City apartment building with his two-year old sister, Boots, he hears a giggle from her and a clunk. The metal grate to an old air duct is wide open, and Boots is peering down through the opening. The next thing Gregor sees is a strange vapor drifting out of the hole, and Boots is somehow sucked into the air duct. "No," he shouts, thrusting his head and shoulders into the hole. He, too, falls down, down, down into empty space. That's Chapter 1, Part 1: The fall. Is it a dream? Not a chance.

Thump. He hears Boots beside him, squealing, "Bug! Beeg bug." Running toward the light, Gregor sprawls over something, and when he looks up, he's looking into the face of the largest cockroach he's ever seen-standing at least 4 feet high. It speaks. "Smells what so good, smells what?" it hisses, curious. "Be small human, be?" "All right, okay, I'm talking to a giant cockroach," Gregor tells himself, stunned. Gregor and Boots have landed far below Manhattan in the Underland, a place where people ride on giant bats, monstrous rats threaten their lives, and there's no way home.

Take advantage of the vivid descriptions of life underground to map the Underland kingdom, draw portraits of the main characters, and compare and contrast life underground with life in New York City, Gregor's home town. Readers will be eager to continue with the other four books in the thrilling Underland Chronicles: Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, Gregor and the Marks of Secret, Gregor and the Code of Claw.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor and the Code of Claw. Scholastic, 2007.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods. Scholastic, 2005.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor and the Marks of Secret. Scholastic, 2006.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane. Scholastic, 2006.

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. The Conch Bearer. Roaring Brook, 2003.

DuPrau, Jeanne. The City of Ember. Random House, 2003.

Hirsch, Odo. Bartlett and the City of Flames. Bloomsbury, 2003.

LaFevers, R. L. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.

L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, 1962.

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Oppel, Kenneth. Darkwing. HarperCollins/EOS, 2007.

Oppel, Kenneth. Silverwing. Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Reeve, Philip. Larklight. Bloomsbury, 2006.

Rex, Adam. The True Meaning of Smekday. Hyperion, 2007.

Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 1) Miramax/Hyperion, 2005.

Rollins, James. Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow. HarperCollins, 2009.

Stroud, Jonathan. The Amulet of Samarkand. Hyperion, 2003.

Tan, Shaun. Tales From Outer Suburbia. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2009.

Critics have said

"Gregor is endearing as a caring, responsible big brother who rises triumphantly to every challenge. This is sure to be a solid hit with young fantasy fans."