There are a vast number of children’s books out there, so to write one that is absolutely completely unique is not as easy as it may seem-and even if you do write one, to execute it so that people adore it for decades is even harder. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, written by Judi Barett and illustrated by Ron Barrett, manages to claim itself a champion of both of these things. It is a unique tale and one that, since its publication in 1978, has sold over 3 million copies, proving itself time and again as a book that is continuously adored by many.
What Happens in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?
The book begins with a family enjoying breakfast one Sunday morning, being narrated by the young girl in it. Grandpa is making pancakes, Mom is squeezing orange juice, and the two children (the girl and her brother) are eagerly awaiting their meal. That night, the Grandfather tells a tall tale that is simply one of the best.
Over the ocean, a few hot deserts, and another ocean, lies a town called Chewandswallow. For the most part, it’s like any other small town. It has all manner of little shops, a main street, a movie theater…everything except food stores. This is because any food the people could want or hope for is provided by the sky. It snows mashed potatoes and peas, it rains juice and soup, and there are even hamburger storms. Yes, all is well in Chewandswallow, until something happens that the residents did not foresee- the weather taking a turn for the worst. There are giant crushing slabs of meat, enormous pickles crashing through roofs, floods of noodles, and even downpour of maple syrup and gargantuan pancakes that cover entire schools. The people of Chewandswallow certainly cannot stay, it is a matter of survival, but how can they manage to escape? If there’s a will there’s a way (although in this case it’s more like if there’s huge pieces of stale bread and pizza there’s a way) and with some creativity and determination that could only be mustered (or mustard, if you will) by residents of a town like Chewandswallow, they find their way to new horizons.
Ron Barrett uses color to and an interesting style of ink drawings to depict this story. It starts off in black and white, and as it moves into the story of the Grandfather it becomes color. At the end of the story, the book once again becomes black and white. This adds a nice touch to the transitions and adds a certain spark to the town of Chewandswallow. All the humorous details in the drawings add a nice touch as well, the facial expressions on the people, the names of the buildings such as “Ralph’s Roofless Restaurant” makes up a great layer to this book.
Our Feelings of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
This book has all the components in it to make it one we adore. First and foremost, the hilarity and entertaining storyline, along with the faint but defiantly present touch of whimsy at the end, is one that will capture the attention of most young readers. Secondly the illustrations plus little details make it more unique then it already could be. It’s also just a fun idea-I’d never read a book about a town that rains, storms, or snows food before this one and I don’t think I will again. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a one of a kind book.
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