Since when does it rain meatballs? Since Judi Barrett decided to tell the story in her book, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. After accidentally flipping a pancake onto his grandson’s head, the grandfather tells the story of a land named Chewandswallow, where food rained from the skies every day. Sometimes lamb chops with ketchup. Sometimes peas and baked potatoes. No one ever knew what might come next, but the residents are content to run around with their plates or let the Sanitation Department gather up the food until things start to get out of control. Suddenly they must all flee or be smashed by massive pancakes or other ridiculously large foods. They have to learn to purchase food instead, but the stories of the crazy food storms live on.
Ron Barrett provides excellent line-drawn illustrations for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. There is an attention to detail that allows children to look at boxes of food to see what it might be called within this imaginary world, as well as other fine touches. The story takes on a Wizard of Oz like feel when it starts out in black and white and jumps to color once readers reach the land of Chewandswallow.
Written for ages 4-8, children can read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and imagine what they might want to fall from the sky. Cake? Ice cream? Hopefully no Brussels sprouts! Readers never know until they turn the page. Children’s books not leaving you hungry? This one will!