“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barett

I’ve seen this book many times in bookstores and libraries but somehow I never felt like even browsing through the pages. I judged it by the cover and decided that the title and the illustrations (by Ronald Barett) seemed too weird-kind-of-absurd to me. But now that my son is in Kindergarten and this book was a part of his weekly reading assignment, I had no choice but read it through with him. I’m glad I did.

It truly is an amusing story.

In a town called Chewandswallow, it was raining food. Orange juice and eggs for breakfast, salads for lunches and spaghetti for dinner. Who wouldn’t be content with such convenient and delicious weather? Until the climate changed and the town was getting hit by most unpredictable menu and long spells of storms, floods, fog and hail of huge and undesirable portions. The people of Chewandswallow had no choice but to flee the town (on boats made of stale bread). And that’s how they discovered that in other places food came from stores. 

A very imaginative story with numerous puns and humorous illustrations, that start black and white and get brighter and more colorful as the story unfolds. My favorite image was the jello sunset. My son laughed at most of the inventive images, like a tree covered with fried eggs and a man covered with noodles.

I know that the story is meant to entertain but somehow I can’t help thinking that it must contain some hidden message. Perhaps it warns us about the effects of the climate changes caused by our ignorant misuse of natural resources and our selfish lifestyles, and calls for action before the ozone layer vanishes and the glaciers melt. Or perhaps it insinuates that our food portions have expanded out of proportion. Anyone has eaten at The Cheesecake Factory for example? Hope you came very, very, very, very hungry.