Cat's mom is famous for a picture book series about two characters named Caterpillar and Chicken, based on Cat and her younger brother. Chicken is sensitive to loud noises and some textures, and he has a tendency to wander off. Cat is a responsible big sister and knows him really well, and she's done even more since their father died. Cat and Chicken go spend the summer with their mom's white grandparents - the first time they've ever really seen these people - while their mom works. Cat isn't sure she can develop an interest in fishing or unravel any family secrets until she knows Chicken is okay.
This is a lovely story, and Cat's pain at not being seen by her mother will resonate with lots of readers, especially those who grow up quickly and care for younger siblings. The relationships and characters are realistic and thoughtfully drawn, with some beautiful writing. I love stories with imperfect (not two-dimensionally-villainous) adults. This isn't an action-packed story for crowds, but it is an excellent vehicle for discussion.
"Cat always kept her brother in the back of her mind, except for the times he was at the front of it . . . but no matter what, Cat loved him as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge, as deep as the sea floor, and as fierce as a shark bite."
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