Caterpillar Summer


Nobody knows what makes Chicken happy like Cat does. Chicken (real name Henry) is Cat’s little brother. He has problems. Gently and thoughtfully, Cat manoeuvres Chicken’s day to make sure he is safe, happy and calm. She’s relieved at the thought of a summer in Atlanta with her best friend Rishi. Rishi’s family understand Chicken. Mum will take a break and it will mean some respite for Cat too.

However everything is turned upside-down when Rishi’s family have to abandon these plans because of an emergency. Suddenly Mum confesses she needs to work over the summer and the only option is for Cat and Chicken to stay with her parents in North Carolina. Mum is estranged from her parents. Something happened before the children were born, when their Dad first met Mum. Cat is determined to discover this. She’s also resolute in her need to keep Chicken safe. How can her grandparents know anything about Chicken like Cat does?

What happens when the walls start crumbling? When a fishing contest brokers a truce? Is there only one side to a story? Can new friends and family help Cat unburden herself, find some inner peace, share the responsibility and enjoy a ‘Caterpillar Summer’?

Bookwagon is delighted to discover this ‘real life’, empathetic, family story. Cat is an endearing character. I love the way she builds relationships and routines on Gingerbread Island and the slow, turtle-like emergence of her grandfather. This is a favourite title especially recommended to readers who love true-to-life tales.


Caterpillar Summer

Gillian McDunn


Cat looks forward to a ‘Caterpillar Summer‘ in Atlanta with her best friend Rishi. Cat is always looking… mainly to check upon her younger brother, Henry (Chicken). Chicken has difficulties and Cat knows how to work around them. She makes sure he’s in the right place, with things that make him comfortable and content. Who else can look after Chicken like Cat?
Rishi’s family problems turn Cat’s summer holiday plans upside-down! Mum has to leave the children with her parents on North Carolina’s Gingerbread Island while she works. Maybe she’s making more Caterpillar & Chicken books about the children; Cat isn’t as happy about that as Chicken. Nor is she happy to be staying with grandparents she hardly knows. Something went wrong between them and Mum years before, when Dad was alive, before the children came along. Now Mum stay in phone contact with her mother, only. How can she expect Cat to stay there for three weeks? How can they know anything about Chicken? This ‘Caterpillar Summer‘ looks to be a disaster!


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