Capelin Weather is a brightly coloured picture book about the seasons, the environment, and animals, weaving them together in a way that is sure to draw children in. Written by Lori Doody, the book has the potential to be a springboard for discussions about the beauty and mystery of nature and how we are all connected to it.
The book tells the story of Kate, a young girl living in St. John’s, who impatiently awaits the summer weather so she can enjoy her favourite activities. Like many children, she focusses on the things she can’t do because of the rainy and cool weather: picnics, bonfires and playing in the pool. Kate’s grandmother explains what everyone is waiting for: capelin–the little grey fish that arrive on shore in early summer. She promises Kate that the current weather, “capelin weather”, will improve once the little fish arrive.
While anxiously awaiting the arrival, Kate takes in all of the natural beauty surrounding her, such as icebergs and gulls. Soon Kate and her community gather to catch the capelin during this annual event, which is well known to many in Atlantic Canada. The day after the capelin run, Kate sees that the weather has changed–summer has arrived! Although, she laments, it’s “maybe a little too warm.”
This book shows connections between the change of seasons, the weather, animals and humans–in a simple and understandable way, one that will be of great interest to children, who will be able to relate these things to their everyday lives and activities. Children will recognize many of the items in Doody’s colourful and child-like illustrations from their own backyards and toy shelves. Both children and adults will relate to Kate’s countdown and anxious anticipation of the upcoming summer, and all the fun that follows.
A useful and welcome addition to the book is an adult-oriented page giving more details about capelin, when and where they arrive and the many ways they are used. One suggestion: read this page before reading the book to a child, as it may help answer some of the questions curious and captivated readers and listeners will ask.
Running the Goat