Book Review: Denise Fleming’s underGROUND

Posted January 28, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Children's

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Denise Fleming’s underGROUND



Denise Fleming

picture book that was published by Beach Lane Books on September 18, 2012 and has 40 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Illustrator: Denise Fleming

A standalone picture nonfiction book that is perfectly entrancing for young, inquiring minds.

In 2013, underGROUND was the Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Title.

My Take

Parents, you may want to explore the endpaper at the start…with all its buried treasures in the browns and rusts. God knows, I enjoyed digging in the dirt (still do, actually) and discovering the treasures beneath the grasses.

I did enjoy Fleming’s graphics with their soft brightness using her signature pulp-painting technique. Her graphics are so perfect with bunnies and moles, as Fleming explores both above and below. It’s a progression from a wheelbarrow of trees to be planted to the bird in the tree spying dinner in the ground…way down, as Fleming shows not just the worm but rocks and tunnels and hairy carrots.

The creatures that dig (as bunny nibbles some leaves); the ant colony with nursery (and the other critters holed up underGROUND).

It’s a story that is primarily the pictures (which are extremely well done) and will require parents to interact more with their kids in discussing what’s happening on each page. Well, if you want to wring every bit of use out of underGROUND, *grin*

Quite the artist, Fleming has provided more than enough in the pictures to enjoy — I adored the rabbit on the “Creatures dig” page. I found the Creature Identification pages at the back quite useful as well…when your kids want to know more about a particular critter, this is the page to turn to.

The Story

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like underGROUND? It’s a whole ‘nother world to explore.

The Characters

A young boy and his dog.

Bunnies, ants, moles, birds, worms, squirrels, chipmunks, bugs, a fox, butterflies, caterpillars, woodchuck, toad, mice, turtle with her eggs, yellow jackets, grubs, cicadas, shrews, spiders, snakes, and salamanders.

The Cover and Title

The cover is soft and fuzzy in subdued bright tones of browns for the earth through which ants have dug tunnels, green for the plants growing on top of the GROUND, a teal-blue sky with a boy in his orange sweatshirt, lying on the ground, playing with the ants. The title is large and in speckled orange below the ground while the author’s name is at the very bottom in a lime green.

The title is where it’s at: underGROUND.


Leave a Reply