The Underfoot: The Mighty Deep

Lion Forge. Apr. 2019. 160p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781549302893.
Gr 4-8–In this suspenseful, postapocalyptic tale, humans (Giants-That-Were) have long since vanished. Thanks to scientific experimentation, the remaining creatures are self-aware. The hamsters have become survivalists and mercenaries working for other animals while defending themselves from equally intelligent predators. Their mission is to destroy a beaver dam before the homes of their allies, the badgers, are flooded and destroyed. The world-building in this book is exceptional. Every page brims with subtle verbal and background clues for readers to carefully assemble into a fascinating backstory. The characters are expressive, and many different breeds of hamsters are drawn in loving detail. These rough, tough, but very cute hamsters exude camaraderie and determination, and speech bubbles are placed with great care for maximum impact. Abrupt, vivid color changes highlight dramatic moments, and the heightened tension and action move the narrative along, sometimes at breakneck speed.
VERDICT Fans of dystopian tales and animal adventure stories will adore this first in a trilogy, and the cliff-hanger ending will have them demanding the next installment

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