GREGOR THE OVERLANDER written by Suzanne Collins
A two-year old girl, Boots, falls through a grate in the laundry room of a New York apartment building. Gregor, her eleven-year old big brother, is supposed to be babysitting her for their mother who is at work. He soon follows after her. Their father disappeared mysteriously two years earlier.
Gregor and Boots find themselves in UNDERLAND, a world where humans live a precarious existence with giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats. There is a fragile peace in this world underground, with war between the species about to break out at any moment. The first creatures Gregor and Boots encounter are giant cockroaches - or as Boots says "beeg bugs."
All Gregor wants is to go home with his baby sister, but he soon finds that he is an integral part of an old prophecy. Gregor must go on a quest that changes him forever, both emotionally and intellectually.
Suzanne Collins has crafted a suspense filled adventure. Gregor the Overlander is a quick paced fantasy. The world Gregor and Boots find themselves in, and the devisive nature of it's inhabitants, seems somewhat familiar to readers. The ending sets up the sequels to this book; Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane and Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, perfectly. I'm hoping there will be a fourth book, after all Gregor still has a family member left in the UNDERLAND at the end of Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods.
These books are equally interesting, the various oversized creatures are reasonably scary. The territorial divisions are reminiscent of what occurs in our own world.
Gregor the Overlander is on the current, 2007, Rebecca Caudill Nominee list. The Rebecca Caudill Award is the Illinois Children's Choice award. Winners are chosen by students grades 4 through 8 in participating schools.