Friday, January 26, 2018

Book Review - “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” Reviewed by Briana Bizier, Board Member of the Raymond Village Library

A really memorable children’s book manages to delight several different audiences. The story, pictures, and language all have to be simple enough to grab a child’s attention. However, a truly great children’s book is also able to engage the adult who is often reading the book over and over. One of the classics, which succeeds on both accounts, is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett with illustrations by Ron Barrett.

The premise of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, told through the elegant framing device of a
grandfather’s bedtime story, is simple and beautifully ridiculous.

What if food fell from the sky? That would be wonderful . . . unless the weather took a turn for the worse. Children get a kick out of the pure silliness of this book, but the real beauty of Barrett’s story are the delightfully complex illustrations. 

I’ve read this book to my children over and over, for years, and I’m still finding hidden treasures in the illustrations. From the firemen rushing into a pancake-related disaster holding forks and spoons to the “Bowel Movers” van stuck on Lower Intestine Street, these delightful illustrations ensure that even adult readers can enjoy “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” again and again. 

Emerging readers will also enjoy finding these hidden treats in the illustrations, like a secret message in a flood of alphabet soup.

Yes, there is also a film adaptation of this popular children’s book, but it’s not nearly as enjoyable as the book. The movie manages to drain much of the silly fun from the story by trying to explain why food falls from the sky, and it ends up being yet another example of a movie which falls short of its source material.

You can check out “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” - both the book and the movie, at the Raymond Library!

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