Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs


Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

by Judi Barrett
Drawings by Ron Barrett

Ages 6-10

A regular morning breakfast scene. A table. Two kids playing over their breakfast. The mother squeezing some juice. Grandpa flipping fresh pancakes on the stove. And oops! He flips one a little too high and it lands on the boy's head. That could still be a regular, though highly comical scene if you stretch your imagination a bit, but what is totally and utterly fantastic is the story that this episode inspires, long after dinner is cleared away and the night draws high....

...and slowly, slowly along with Grandpa's softly told narrative...

Across an ocean, over lots of huge bumpy mountains, across three hot deserts and a smaller ocean....

...we travel to the tiny town of Chewandswallow!!!

...where, it rains no rain, and snows no snow, and there are no food stores anywhere, because there is no need for it. For all the food that the town needs falls right down from the sky!!

Now imagine the highly engaging possibilities of living in a place where you don't have to cook, and whatever you want to eat comes right from the sky. Whooooosh!!! 3 times a day, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And whatever the weather served is what the people ate! It rained soup and juice. It snowed mashed potatoes and green peas. And sometimes, the wind blew in storms of hamburgers.

You can expect to sport a big huge smile on your face, as you catch the weather report on TV and it tells you what you can expect for your next meal. And when the people stepped out, they carried knives and forks, and plates and cups, to be prepared for any kind of weather! And where there were no food stores, there were restaurants. Roofless restaurants! Making it easy to grab every bite! :) Of course, this meant the sanitation department of the town had quite a job cleaning up all the leftovers that lined the streets and pavements, and trees. But it was still manageable.

All until one day...when the weather took a turn for the worse!

Pretty soon, spaghetti tied up the whole town and that was such a rocking mess! Another day, all it rained was gorgonzola cheese, and people had to cover their noses with cloth pins, to keep off the smell! And oh...the day of the pea soup fog, when you could not see past anything! And the storm of pancakes, where a big huge pancake covered the whole school and none of the kids could attend! And the ensuing maple syrup flood! Oh the horrors that the Chewandswallow folks had to face!

Soon, it was decided to leave town and quickly. So people glued together giant pieces of stale bread with peanut butter and set sail for a new land. After a week, they reached a small coastal town which they made their home. It took them a while to get used to it....especially the part where they had to pick up their food from the shelves of the stores. Now that was a bit odd! But at least the clouds above their heads were not made of fried eggs! And no one ever got hit by a hamburger again! And nobody ever went back to Chewandswallow to find out what had happened to it. And I don't blame them. Do you? :)

A book for all ages, with vivid pencil illustrations which add a thousand details to the narrative and help you enjoy generous servings of the pea soup and gorgonzola! But be warned and check out this weather update at the peril of being highly entertained , uncontrollably giggle and a very rumbling, grumbling tummy!

14 comments:

sathish said...

chewandswallow!! - what fun!! Will it rain rice and vengai sambar?? pls..

Tharini said...

LOL Sathish. Now that would be a very spicy day indeed! :)

B o o said...

Wonderful review, T. One has to learn the art of reviewing books from the ST group. You all paint such vivid pictures with your words that I want to go and grab the book asap. And to be honest, the books disappoint me a bit because it pales(a teeny weeny bit only, ok?) compared to your reviews. Call me crazy but thats the way it is! :)

utbtkids said...

Ah, Boo it is the because you read it with an expectation vs as a reviewer we read it for the first time.

You can't dip your hand in the same ocean twice. Your experience from the first time has already altered you :)

ssstoryteller said...

What a great story
what did the kids have to say?
mine enjoy the foodie ones...

ChoxBox said...

I have skipped reading this review T. We have the DVd sitting for aeons and still haven't got around to watching it. Will do so and get back and read your review :)

@Boo: as utbt says!

Poppy said...

Book sounds hilarious!
@Satish : And aloo curry also pliss :)
@Boo: Thank you but don't be so modest ! You're a class apart yourself.

Tharini said...

Boo : I know what you mean. It has happened with me toof or some books and some books which I picked up because of the review, they were just mindblowing and worth every word spent on it.

UTBT : What a fantastic way of putting it. You can't dip your hand in the same ocean twice. Wow!

SSS : Actually, this was a book picked out by my son from his bookbox in school. They bring one home every Friday to read at home. And he was so eager and happy to share this because of how much he enjoyed it. We each got separate readings from him, and he just loved the food fantasy!

Chox : Good step. I wanna watch it too and watch it with Winkie, now that we've read the book!

Vibha said...

Great review T. Another amazing piece of imagination and quite hilarious one.
Thanks T!

Sheela said...

I like reading your reviews, T, and this one is no exception.

This book sort of fell flat with Ana when we read it last year, possibly her interests and preferences did not resonate here... it seemed to disturbed her more than amuse her regarding food wastage and getting dirty - go figure :) however, the treatment in the movie as usual has the extra elements to round out the story - relationships, how does it start raining foods and such... which she could handle better...

Playing by the book said...

We saw the film of this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, having never read the book. But your review makes me really want to track a copy down now :-)

Kodi's Mom said...

oh yeah! we had a blast reading and re-reading this!! the 4yo who lives in fantasy world most of the time couldn;t get enough of raining food. I actually checked it out to prep for the movie when it came out, but we still haven't watched it..
"rumbling, grumbling tummy" is spot on! added bonus was the appetite it worked up :)

Meera Sriram said...

Loved it! I think its nice for(my) kids to read a book and then watch a movie so it feels like the book is coming alive to them. I was aware of the movie but not the book. So, thanks T. Will go hunting for this book.

Praba said...

Sounds like a fun one, T!

K mentioned, she has read the book during the KG year. Asked her if she liked the book...and the answer I got, "it was funny, but slightly weird kind of funny," :)..I just smiled and thought, must have not appealed to the vegetarian side of the brain. LOL! I think I would prefer the vengaya sambar option. :)

We read, The adventures of the Dish and Spoon recently. Had heard about this... It was ok; surely brought a smile. Offbeat objects being friends and as characters - can be really funny for kids. :)

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