Collins, Suzanne. 2003. Gregor the Overlander. New York: Scholastic.
Gregor’s dad disappeared two years ago, and his life has never been the same. In the summer, it’s the worst. His mom works. His sister Lizzie is allowed to attend summer camp. But 11-year-old Gregor, the man of the house, must spend the long, hot summer at home – looking after his baby sister Margaret, better known as Boots. Worse yet, he’s got laundry to do.
As he hurried across the laundry room, Gregor heard a metallic klunk and then a giggle from Boots. “Great, now she’s dismantling the dryer,” thought Gregor, picking up speed. As he reached the far wall, a strange scene confronted him.
The metal grate to an old air duct was wide open, secured by two rusty hinges at the top. Boss was squinting into the opening, about two feet by two feet, which led into the wall of the building. From where he stood, Gregor could see nothing but blackness. Then a wisp of … what was it? Steam? Smoke? It didn’t really look lie either. Some strange vapor drifted out of the hole and curled around Boots. She held out her arms curiously and leaned forward.
“No!” yelled Gregor as he lunged for her, but Boot’s tiny frame seemed to be sucked into the air duct. Without thinking, Gregor thrust his head and shoulders into the hole. The metal grate smacked into his back. The next thing he knew, he was falling down, down, down into empty space.
So begins the epic journey of Gregor, a poor 11-year old boy from New York City, and his baby sister, Boots. They hurtle through the mysterious portal and arrive in the Underland, where they are received as the “princess”, and Gregor the Overlander, warrior of prophecy. In a world inhabited by pale humans with violet eyes and translucent skin; murderous rats of man-sized proportions; and cockroaches, bats, and spiders of gargantuan size, who can Gregor trust? Their only way back to the Overland is to fulfill the ancient prophesy, a strange quest with an uncertain outcome. With his baby sister in tow, Gregor sets off to find his destiny in Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins.