Top 100 Picture Books #75: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett
#75 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett (1978)
A childhood favorite. My mother used to come and read this book to my classes when I was young. I remember dreaming of food falling from the sky, though never so much it destroyed the town. Whimsical storytelling and fantastic drawings. – Sharon Thackston
Aside from The Giant Jam Sandwich there’s really only one other iconic gigantic food book that comes immediately to mind. I rediscovered this book in my old age, and was delighted to find that it really does stand up to scrutiny. Sadly, I found that it is not the best readaloud for large groups, but in spite of that it’s a fine tale of the best and worst aspects of sky-related foodstuffs.
The publisher description of the plot reads, “The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it never rained rain and it never snowed snow and it never blew just wind. It rained things like soup and juice. It snowed things like mashed potatoes. And sometimes the wind blew in storms of hamburgers. Life for the townspeople was delicious until the weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger and so did the portions. Chewandswallow was plagues by damaging floods and storms of huge food. The town was a mess and the people feared for their lives. Something had to be done, and in a hurry.”
Think it’s all fun and games? Think again. Bottom Shelf Books revealed what is undoubtedly the strangest picture in the book. One that I’m pretty sure most of us have missed for years. Mind you, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it.
Of course Cloudy was not without its sequel. I don’t know many people who would claim to know Pickles to Pittsburgh particularly well. Except possibly the Pittsburgh librarians out there. So let’s hear it, Pittsburghians. Do you know this book? Do you read it regularly? Cause as far as I can determine it is the ONLY picture book out there with the word “Pittsburgh” loud and proud on its cover (please prove me wrong, somebody).
Remember the film? That happened. It made money too so one naturally wonders if a Pickles sequel might already be in the works . . .
Filed under: Best Books, Top 100 Picture Books Poll
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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