A few years ago the boys and I listened to the book, Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. (We love audio-books!) We quickly fell in love with the characters and were held captive by the story.

Fortunately this was book one in a five book series called, The Underland Chronicles.

It might sound obsessive but we’ve listened to these books four times. We like them that much.

I’ve read The Hunger Games Series twice and I like that series too. But with it getting so much attention right now I thought I’d share a bit about a Suzanne Collins series geared more for a younger crowd and worth every bit as much good press.

Gregor is an 11 year old boy who ends up falling his way into an underground city with his little sister Boots. While there he discovers giant spiders, rats, cockroaches and other creatures that co-exist with humans.

He soon realizes that though he discovered the Underland by accident their future is actually dependent on him. He has some tough decisions to make and ends up leading a dangerous mission that unexpectedly benefits Gregor and his family as well as the Underland.

War is the main theme of the series. The books are action packed, full of battles and real life problems. You will have lots to talk about with your kids. But I’ve not found them to be too scary or intense for my boys.

Like I mentioned before, we love Gregor as a character. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Gregor honors his parents.

In book one we learn that Gregor’s dad has disappeared with-out a trace, but Gregor refuses to believe that his dad would abandon his family. Instead he continues to believe the best about him.

Gregor also obeys his mother. Several times when the Underlanders suggest leaving Gregor’s younger sister behind we hear him say things like, “Mom says we should stay together so we’re going to stay together.”

2. Gregor is responsible and has a great attitude.

While in the Underland, 11 year old Gregor, takes full responsibility for the care of his 2 year old sister. He feeds her, changes her diapers, protects her and never complains about it!

3. Gregor is brave!

Gregor has to face difficult choices and endure terrible battles. Though he doesn’t always see himself as the Underlanders see him (as a warrior), he does not back down because he is scared or because things are tough. You can count on Gregor to do the right thing even when it’s hard to do.

4. Gregor cares about others.

Even when other people or creatures are rude to Gregor he tries to understand where they are coming from and why they’re acting that way. He doesn’t hold grudges and he is forgiving.

As usual, I recommend previewing this book before sharing it with your children. You might enjoy it as much as they will.