Kate’s grandmother is proven right when the arrival of capelins signals the start of warm, sunny weather in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Kate is a light-skinned, blue-eyed girl—perhaps 5 years old—who is “excited for the start of summer.” Unfortunately, her plans for soccer, picnics, chalk drawings, pools, and bonfires are all thwarted by a long spell of “rain, drizzle, and fog” (presented amusingly in a gray cloud above rebuslike icons). After her grandmother explains the titular “capelin weather,” Kate awaits the arrival of the tiny, silver fish, wondering if they will fall from the sky. Meanwhile, she observes icebergs, whales, and kittiwakes from a distance. When the fish arrive at the shores of St. John’s, she joins with others to collect them for fertilizer and fish fries. Abruptly, the weather becomes “maybe a little too warm,” and the story ends. Opposite the illustration of a Popsicle-holding Kate is a page with facts about Newfoundland’s summer weather and about the role of capelins in the Newfoundland ecosystem. Since this page is obviously geared toward older readers, it is too bad it doesn’t include information about the Capelin Observers Network, begun in 2002. The charming, nouveau-primitive illustrations—which sometimes contain additional text—add interest and humor to an otherwise underdeveloped story. There are some appealing double-page spreads, especially one showing a multitude of bucket-toting islanders lined up on the shore. Whimsical, capelin-filled endpapers are a nice touch.
Interesting as a site-specific book but less satisfying as a story. (Picture book. 3-6)