Friday, December 11, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett

I honestly can't believe that it has taken me this long to talk about his book! It was one of my absolute favorites when I was younger. Did I see the movie though, you say? Absolutely not. Why? Because they totally ruined it! i could tell just from the trailer that only a few things were kept the same from the original telling, which is highly disappointing because it was fine just on its own. When I was little I always thought about how cool it would be to live in a place where food rained from the sky. Then when I got a little bit older, but not quite old enough to outgrow the book, I realized that if it truly rained food it would not be suitable to eat because of all the nasty things in the atmosphere. Another fanciful idea struck down by knowledge and science for that matter. I still enjoyed the book though. I think that the illustrations were one of the best parts. It is funny because what I enjoyed so much about those illustrations is still what I hold as the gold standard for a good illustration today, and that is attention to detail. Each illustration in this book was done with a careful eye, and nothing was left out. Not to be too general here, but my other favorite part of this book was the story. Not only is it amusing, but there are lessons to be learned. This is the story of a town where the weather does not consist of rain and snow, but of hot dogs and hamburgers and other foods. Life was good in the obviously fictional town of Chewandswallow until there is the hurricane equivalent of food dumped on the city. The residents are forced to flee for their lives, lest they be squished by a giant pancake or run over by an enormous rolling doughnut. What lesson can be learned from this silly story? There are two actually. The first is this: too much of a good thing is a bad thing. The townspeople had been glad to get their food for free from the sky, but when the weather spins out of control they are forced to leave, ergo too much=bad. The other lesson comes from a part of the book that I did not mention. The story begins by a grandfather telling his grandchildren this story of the town Chewandswallow. This celebrates not only the entertainment value of books and the importance of reading and sharing them together, but it also highlights the tradition of the oral story.

Even if you don't choose to look deep enough for that, you will still enjoy this book. I suggest this book for all ages.

You can watch the trailer for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs here:
It is totally different, but it could still be entertaining.

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