Cat spends a lot of time looking after her little brother Chicken. He's different than other kids and she knows what he likes and how to treat him when he has a "meltdown". After their father passed away their mother works a lot, so Cat is used to being responsible. When a long promised vacation together has to be cancelled, Cat is upset to find out her mother is dropping her off with grandparents she's never met on a coastal island in North Carolina. For the first time in years, Cat has the time and space to reflect on life, make friends and take care of herself for a change. What will this mean for her family?
This was a beautiful book. I wasn't sure how I would take this middle grade summer adventure, but McDunn pulls from her own personal experience to create a dynamic between Cat and Chicken that is realistic and elevates 'Caterpillar Summer' above most summer stories. What I liked the most was the honesty about the frustration as well as the joys of having a loved one who is different. Different is special and difficult at the same time and there are not many authors that can pull that off, especially in a way that younger readers can understand and appreciate.