Caterpillar Summer


"You and me, me and you. We'll always be together." -Caterpillar in Caterpillar and Chicken in the Great Bubble-Gum Pancake"

What do you do when you expected a great vacation and found instead that you were being dropped into the laps of grandparents you don't know, on an island you have never seen before, and the vacation you expected disappears as your Mom gets on a plane to fly away?

Tomorrow, 5th-grader Cat and her kindergartener brother, Chicken, are going to get on a plane with their mom and fly to Atlanta to spend some wonderful summer days with the Krishnamurthy's.  Cat can't wait to see Rishi, her best friend.  Mom promised they'd have a real vacation when she isn't teaching the three-week college course that is calling her to Atlanta.  It's going to be great.  Maybe Cat won't have to be watching Chicken every second of every day since Mom will be around.

The family packs up and flies away from the Golden Gate Bridge and their neighborhood and arrives in Atlanta only to learn that the Krishnamurthy's aren't there.  They've had to leave because of a family emergency.  Mom thinks fast and decides to take Cat and Chicken to their grandparents who live on an island and who have never seen Cat and Chicken in all the years they've been alive.

Mom flies off and Cat is left to watch over Chicken as always.  Cat knows Chicken so well so she knows what he needs and what to expect except when he surprises her by disappearing.

This is a story about bi-racial children, about parents who want their children to grow up and follow a certain track in life, and a whole lot about acceptance.

For those who love the bonds that connect us in friendship and family, this is delicious stuff.  You will feel yourself in Cat's skin which is lighter than Daddy's dark skin and darker than Mom's pale skin.  You'll find your way along with Cat through the island ways and folks.   This one is about unconditional love ...something we are all hoping to find for ourselves and give to others.

A satisfying summer story, poignant and feisty.

304 pages         978-1681197432           Ages 8-12

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

Keywords: biracial; summer; multigenerational; Autism; acceptance; accepting others; island; finding yourself; grandparents; relationships; understanding others



More reviews:

"An engaging, honest book." --Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Newbery Honor-winning author of The War That Saved My Life

"A beautiful story of family, forgiveness, life on an island, and growing up.”--Kate Messner, author of Breakout and The Seventh Wish

This beautifully written, emotional debut perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt or Ali Benjamin tells the story a girl, her special needs brother, and the summer they will never forget.

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond--Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a "meltdown" she's the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She's the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn't go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another's shoes.--from the publisher

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