Before she wrote The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins wrote the Underland Chronicles. In the first book of the series is Gregor the Overlander.
Gregor and his baby sister fall through a grate. In just moments, they go from their apartment building in New York City to a fantastical subterranean world.
This kingdom, known as the Underland, contains fantasy creatures. Giant roaches, bats, rats, and spiders talk and fight. Gregor meets a race of people with translucent skin.
One of their leaders, Vikus, announces that Gregor is the “Warrior.” Gregor must follow the the words set out by the ‘Prophecy of Gray.’ He agrees. By following the prophecy, he will save father who has been a prisoner of the rats for over two years.
Gregor must make dangerous alliances. He must also travel over treacherous lands. During the quest, he must battle rats. Will Gregor be successful? Can Gregor rescue his father? Will the Underland race prevail?
Teaching Ideas for the Book
Comparing Two Books with Underground Settings
Underground settings have been popular for years. One of the first books with this setting was Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864). Just a year later Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) was published.
The City of Ember is a great book to compare to Gregor the Underlander. In one scene of the book, Gregor tries to escape from the Underland by riding a boat down the river. Although Gregor’s journey ends in a vicious fight with rats, the actual boat ride resembles Doon and Lina’s ride out of Ember. Many other comparisons between the two books can be made as well. Download this T-Chart to help students compare the two books.
Additional Subterranean Books
Here are some additional books your students might like:
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
This story focuses on crimes by or against a fairy-folk who live beneath the earth’s crust.
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
This is the fourth book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. In the story, the protagonist must navigate a supernatural maze under the United States.
Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
Will’s dad disappears. While investigating, he finds an underground community known as the Colony.
Gregor the Overlander Book Unit
Gregor the Overlander Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included.