Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

by Judi Barrett

Paperback, 1982



Call number




Atheneum Books for Young Readers (1982), Edition: Reprint, 32 pages


Life is delicious in the town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and juice, snows mashed potatoes, and blows storms of hamburgers--until the weather takes a turn for the worse.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When a breakfast mishap ends with pancake all over Henry's face, Grandpa is inspired to tell the story of the small town of Chewandswallow (located "Across an ocean, over lots of huge bumpy mountains, across three hot deserts, and one smaller ocean"), where all of the residents' food needs were
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once provided for by the local weather. Whether it was raining soup or snowing mashed potatoes, there was always plenty to eat. But as the weather became more and more extreme - nothing but stinky gorgonzola cheese one day, destructive giant meatballs that damaged homes another - the residents slowly began to realize that they would have to abandon their town...

Originally published in 1978, this imaginative picture-book reminded me a bit of Alan Stamaty's Who Needs Donuts?, another food-themed picture-book created in the 1970s. In fact, Ron Barrett's detailed engraving-style illustrations were very reminiscent of Stamaty's artwork. That association added to my enjoyment of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, although I have to admit that, generally speaking, I may have missed the boat on this one. I never read this book as a child, and although I believe young readers will appreciate its humorous take on weather gone wild, I wasn't quite as impressed as I expected to be, given its status as a perennial picture-book favorite. Still, I'm glad it was one of this month's selections, over in the Picture-Book Club to which I belong, even if it wasn't quite my cup of tea!
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LibraryThing member smilz23
An imaginative story about a town where the food comes from the sky. When larger than normal storms are coming bringing destruction the people must find a new place to live. They build boats from stale bread and peanut butter. They find a new town where food is stored in refrigerators and
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Classroom connection: This book could be used as entertainment. The story could also be used to teach vocabulary such as food words to ELL students.
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LibraryThing member Kaylinn_Hall
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is an awesome book that begins with a pancake incident at breakfast. This causes the grandfather to tell this tale as the childrens bedtime story. There is a town called Chewandswallow. Here in this town they eat what the sky serves. For example, for dinner there
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was a storm of hamburgers. One day the weather went crazy, the food was getting larger and larger, and the sanatation department could not keep up with the mess. The people of Chewandswallow ended up making a boat out of bread, and floating away to a new town, where they made their homes out of the bread. Once grandpa was finished, the children went to bed, and woke up to snow. They swore that they could smell mashed potatoes with a slap of butter on top.

I remember this book well, I read it in 3rd or 4th grade, and made my own fairy tale about food. It was an inspiration for me and my imagination, and hope my students will enjoy it as well.

I think one activity the students could do after reading this book would be to have the students draw a picture of what they think the town would look like during meal time. Another idea would be for the students to write a short story of what they would like it to rain all the time, and have a small picture to go with it.
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LibraryThing member Amber_88
This is a good example of fantasy, because food is falling from the sky, which can't happen, but realistics events, such as storms, are also happening, making it believable and fun for children to experience through reading.
The setting takes place in Chewandswallow, where food fell from the sky to
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feed the people every day. The town, other than this, was very normal, with a school, houses, etc. The story is too short to know much else about the setting or to learn much about the characters or plot.
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LibraryThing member missmichelle
Age Appropriateness: Primary
Genre: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs takes the reader on a fun fantasy adventure in the town of Chewandshallow where food falls from the sky three times a day. The author uses her imagination to dream up a world where the towns people are believable and their story
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becomes reality, even though there is really no such place where the weather sends down food.
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LibraryThing member GeniusBabies
A clever book about a land where food falls from the sky. Quite scary in terms of modern global warming, the book keeps its fun tone of exporing a foreign land. The illustrations are also well done with a busy line style. Be sure to look for the many bits of humor on each page in the background.
LibraryThing member ENeal
“Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett is a story that starts out with a grandfather cooking pancake for his family when a pancake accidentally falls on one of the boys head. This reminds the grandfather of a story that happens in Chewandswallow town.
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The townspeople are lazy and every meal comes in the form of weather, for example, raining meatballs, gusts of hamburgers, snowing mash potatoes, etc.. I’m not going to ruin the end for you will need to read it yourself, but the weather takes a turn for the worse.

This book was absolutely hilarious! I am glad that the text was out of the way of the illustrations. The illustrations help the reader to really understand what is going on. This is a great way of activating our imaginations.

Classroom extension for this book is a little difficult. It has a great meaning and it is everything you wish for is not always the best thing. When children are going through the stage of I wish, I want, Why can’t, it can be used to teach the children a life lesson.
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LibraryThing member annafcurry
This book was about a grandfather telling his grandchildren a bed time story about a town named chewand swallow which was an ordinary town except for at breakfast, linch and dinner where all of the meals fell from the sky such as mashed potatoes, orange juice, eggs, toast, etc. Then one day the
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weather turned severe for the citizens of chewandswallow which all of the food came down was larger and would not stop. The citizens were becoming concerned with the changes and the damage the food was doing to the town, so they decided to leave the town. They used some of the oversized food to make transportation out of the town. The citizens came upon a new town where the food had to be bought instead of falling from the sky. When the grandchildren woke up the next morning they went outside with grandfather and it had snowed but to the childrens imagination of the story told from the night before they thought that they could see the mashed potatoes as snow and the sun rising as butter on the top of the potatoes.

At first just browsing through the book I thought that I would not like it but as I read the book to the group of girls I read to they really enjoyed it and I ended up liking it too. I think that it is a good book to read to the younger children because it gets the childrens imagination going and it brings it out in everyone because you know that it could not happen but to the children if it did it would be great.

Some extension ideas are after you read the book have a discussion with the children on what types of food would you like to have fall from the sky. At center time or art time have the students use noodles, marshmellows, popcorn, rice and beans and glue it to paper to make a picture of their interpretations of the story. Or at snack time have the children bring their favorite snack.
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LibraryThing member ashdawn21
In Chewandswallow, meals rain from the sky at appropriate times of the day, but a change in the weather blows in massive problems.

This book has always been a favorite for me because of the fact that it was so much different them many other children's books I have read! How many books tell about
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food falling from the sky? =)

One way I could use this in my classroom is by letting my students draw what they wish fell from the sky, and then tell about some of the advantages and disadvantages of that.
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LibraryThing member RamiroLongoria
This is a story that a grandpa tells his grandchildren about a town named Chewandswallow. This town was not much different from other towns except that it had no food stores because the sky supplied them everything they needed. People would carry their plates, cups, spoons and napkins with them in
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order to be prepared for the weather. It was great for a while until one day the weather took a change for the worse producing larger food than what was normal, including large meatballs that damaged the houses and the town. Eventually the people had to no choice but to flee the town and look for a new residence.

I have never read this story and did not hear about it until it was mentioned in my Literature textbook. The title really caught my attention and so I had to find it and read it. The book has wonderful pictures and illustrations throughout each page. One thing that caught my eye was the illustrator’s cleverness with starting the book in black and white pictures. When the story begins talking about the unordinary town, the pictures become bright and colorful. At the end of the story, the illustrator again goes back to black and white pictures. To me this really helps bring out the towns uniqueness and the colorfulness emphasizes that point.

In the classroom, I think it would be a fun idea to make some meatballs or some other food that is mentioned in the story. As we read the story the children could sit and listen to the story and then be given the opportunity to eat. I think this would make the story more memorable and at the same time fun for the class.
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LibraryThing member daffyduck24
This is a story about a family getting ready to eat breakfast and the grandpa tells his family about the town of Chewandswallow. In this town it would rain hamburgers, pancakes, forks and many other things. One day it rained so much food and wouldn't stop that the townspeople had to evacuate the
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town in order to survive.

This was a cute and silly book that really fits into the modern fantasy category. I liked this story because it made not only me laugh but the kids laugh too.

In the class one extension idea I could use would be to have the students tell me their reactions to the story and discuss whether this could really happen or not. Another idea I could use would be to have the children draw pictures of what happened in the story.
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LibraryThing member SunnySD
A poorly flipped pancake at breakfast inspires a wonderful bedtime story involving the little town of Chewandswallow and its edible weather. After a series of freak storms leave them school-less and fearing annihilation by tomato tornado - or worse, the townspeople are forced to pack up and set
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sail for somewhere with less appetizing precipitation.

This was one of my absolute favorites as a child, and I was delighted to find it still in print.
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LibraryThing member lacykay9300
This story is about a story told by a grandpas at the breakfast table. He tells the family about a town called chewandswallow. n this town when it rained it would rain things like hamburgers ,tomatoes tornadoes, pancakes and forks. It rained so much food one day that the town had to build boats
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from stale bread and peanut butter. They had to evacuate because it rained so much food.
I thought this book was great!! It was very cute and well written. I really liked the pictures in it!! They were cute!
I would use this book in a classroom maybe as a fun book to read during a weather lesson. We could talk about how this could never happen.
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LibraryThing member GWES.Second
Grandfather tells his grandchildren a story about the town of Chewandswallow where food rains from the sky.
LibraryThing member conuly
This book is nothing but the silliest tall tale ever, about a town where food "falls from the sky", but it works.

My nieces really sit still for this one, which is sometimes a bit of an accomplishment :)

I will say that it goes on a bit long in parts, describing the way food falls from the sky, but
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it's not that big a deal to me.
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LibraryThing member kalonzo
Reading this modern fantasy, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, my appetite grew along with my curiosity. Everyday was a different meal that showered over the town chewandswallow. One day the meals spun out of control and became violent. The people had to move to another place that was similar to
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where we live now, a place where they had to make their own meals.

I used this book to quiet down a 7th grade class. They wanted to watch a movie but I told them I had to read this for my college class so they should enjoy it with me. They loved this book!

As I read this to the class we discussed foods we had never tried before or heard of. For example some of the kids had no idea what a frankfurters was! I had never heard of Gorgonzola cheese, so these foods were talked about how they tasted or where you would eat them.
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LibraryThing member meallen1
I love this book! I think it is so funny and it would be a great book to read to a classroom because the kids would think it was so silly. A good activity after reading it would be to get the kids to draw a picture of what they think it would look like if they saw food falling from the sky.
LibraryThing member jessy555
Genre: fantasy
Critique of Genre: This is a hilarious example of fantasy because the grandfather (storyteller) starts out by flipping a pancake accidently on his grandson and then later takes that silly mishap and tells a colorful story about a town called Chewandswallow and their crazy weather
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sending in different types of food rather than rain or snow.
Setting: The setting of the story is in a town called ChewandSwallow which if you look carefully is perfectly named for what goes on in the story. In a story that is all about the different kinds of food blown in or rained down on this town to consume since they don't have a grocery store.
Media:pen and ink/marke
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LibraryThing member dhelmen
My favorite book as a child, I still enjoy it and love to look at the amazingly clever illustrations. To those who grew up in the 80's it was an institution and is one of my fondest literary memories of childhood.
LibraryThing member lunanshee
One of my favorite childhood books, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" tells the story of the people who live in a land where food falls from the sky daily. Imaginative and wonderfully illustrated, I would recommend this book for any child.
LibraryThing member lintng01
For my reader’s choice book, I chose the ever popular book, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” I had just recently taken my niece to go and see this movie and was excited to find the book in the library. The book “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” was written by Judi Barrett and
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illustrations were drawn by Ron Barrett. This book is a great fiction book for young readers. I practiced reading this book out loud and imagined my students paying close attention to what stormed down from the sky’s next.
The book discusses a town that has an extreme weather problem. Instead of raining and snowing like any normal town, it rains 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In this cute story the sky’s rain down large amounts of food all over the town which in the end become a problem. The food comes down to large and too fast for the town to keep up so they have to evacuate the town immediately.
The entire book discusses the change of weather and the weather system itself which I could easily tie into a science/weather lesson with my students. This book will help my student’s use their imagination and I’m sure will bring a giggle or two to the kids listening. I don’t recall ever reading this book before although my mother is sure I have. I’m glad I was able to find this book for this assignment and can’t wait to share it with my students one day.
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LibraryThing member Madalyn333
This is a great story that all kids would love! The story is about a town that experiences the strangest weather. Instead of rain coming from the sky, food falls from the sky. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and they do a great job of depicting the story. This book is set up like a comic
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book and it is the most appropriate for intermediate readers.
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LibraryThing member Esus15
this was one and still is one of my favorite books. i remember reading it all the time growing up. its about this family who grandpa tells a story about this place called chew and swallow. in this city food falls from the sky and thats what they eat during the day, they dont have to cook or
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anything. i always thought that was the coolest thing. until one day though when the weather starts to get crazy and they have to leave town forever. the drawings are fun to look at, and sometimes there is more then one picture on one page.
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LibraryThing member madelinelbaker
This book is a good example of a fantasy because food does not fall from the skies three times a day to feed the people in the community.
LibraryThing member chron002
This book is too cute! Different foods are falling from the sky such as hamburgers, cherry pie, and meatballs. When the weather gets bad down comes the broccoli in tomato sauce. Younger children might be confused, but this will leave them thinking. The pictures will keep a child's attention.


Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 1983)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Winner — Picturebook — 1984)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 1982)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Primary — 1983)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

9.75 x 8.5 inches


0689707495 / 9780689707490
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