Summary-Gregor the Overlander
Gregor is too grown up for a boy his age, but he has no choice. He is the oldest child in a family who's dad has disappeared and only has a mom that works two jobs to pick up the slack. He cares for his sisters and grandma as best as he can while his mother works. One day, Gregor and his baby sister Boots, are doing laundry to help his mother while she is at work. When Boots falls through the grating behind the drier in the laundry room, Gregor leaps after her, only knowing that he has to save his sister since his mom really couldn't handle losing more family. What they encounter is more than anyone could imagine. They are immediately greeted by gnawers and then by crawlers...and that's only the beginning. The creatures and friends Gregor and Boots meet are outstanding and their role in fulfilling the Prophecy of Gray keeps the reader turning pages and wanting more.
After reading this book, I couldn't wait to read the rest of the series. I even did one of my class book trailers on this book because I enjoyed it so much. You can watch it here. The characters are very well developed-so well in fact that I felt bad the other day when I accidentally stepped on a tree roach outside my apartment! What if it was Temp? I really feel that even a reluctant reader would enjoy these books because the action is exciting and we all feel as if we just want to go home, like Gregor does.
Gregor’s luminous, supremely absorbing quest takes place in a strange underground land of giant cockroaches, rideable bats, and violet-eyed humans. When his two-year-old sister Boots tumbles into an air duct in his building’s laundry room, Gregor leaps after her and they fall, à la Alice, into another world. Gregor wants desperately to get home—until he hears that his father, who left Gregor heavy-hearted by disappearing two years ago, may be in Underland himself, kept prisoner by enormous, war-hungry rats. A coalition of creatures and royal humans is formed to rescue him, modeled after an ancient prophetic poem that has foretold Gregor’s arrival and calls him the Overland Warrior. The abiding ache of Gregor’s sadness is matched by his tender care for Boots. Creature depictions are soulful and the plot is riveting; Underland’s dark, cavernous atmosphere is palpable. Explanation and subtlety balance perfectly. Wonderful. (Fiction. 8-12)
I would use this with 4-8th grade students in either a read aloud setting for student enjoyment. Since it is pretty fantastic, it would be pretty hard to tie it to academic subjects, unless it was being used with a narrative writing lesson. Students learning to write narratives would really benefit from this book because Suzanne Collins is an excellent story teller. She uses vivid description and has great character building abilities that students could learn from.
Collins, S. (2003). Gregor the Overlander. New York: Scholastic.
Unknown. 2003, August 1). Gregor the Overlander Review. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from Kirkus Reviews: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/childrens-books/suzanne-collins/gregor-the-overlander/?spdy=2003