Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a children's book written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett. It was first published in 1978 by Atheneum Books, followed by a 1982 trade paperback edition from sister company Aladdin Paperbacks. It is now published by Simon & Schuster.[1] Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association listed the book as one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children".[2] It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[3]

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (book).jpg
AuthorJudi Barrett
IllustratorRon Barrett
CountryUnited States
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date
September 14, 1978
Followed byPickles to Pittsburgh 

A sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh, was published in 2000 by Atheneum Books; a hardcover edition followed in 2009. A second sequel, Planet of the Pies, was published on August 27, 2013.[4]


A grandfather reads a bedtime story, chronicling the lives of the citizens of an imaginary town called Chewandswallow, which is characterized by food raining from the sky. The grandchildren are named Henry and his younger sister Kate (though the girl—unnamed in this book—receives her name in the sequels starting with Pickles to Pittsburgh).

The sky provided the townsfolk with all of their food by raining food, rendering Chewandswallow devoid of malls and food stores. Unlike typical weather, the weather of Chewandswallow always came three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime. The town of Chewandswallow had a sanitation department (known as the Sanitation Department of Chewandswallow). It fed the fallen food to the animals (including stray pets, birds, sea creatures—including fish, sea turtles, and cetaceans—, and wildlife on land). With the devoid of malls and grocery stores in the town, this for the town's residents was a much better arrangement.

Life in the town of Chewandswallow (for the town's residents) was delicious. But after a couple of millenniums had passed (and when all the excitement of the food in the weather had died down), the food in the weather eventually took the townspeople a turn for the worse. And the people began to realize that they were not happy about it as they thought. Events such as gorgonzola cheese raining down all day long, followed by pea soup fog preventing anyone from being able to see where they were going, began to make life miserable for the citizens. It got even worse, as the food began to increase in size and started creating natural disasters, such as a hurricane of bread and rolls (which took the workers four millenniums to clean up), followed by a colossal pancake causing the school to be closed forever, then—for lunch—fifty inch drifts of cream cheese and jelly sandwiches (which the children ate themselves sick and the day ended with a stomachache), and then a salt and pepper wind accompanied by a tomato tornado—culminating in apocalypse level food storms.

Pretty soon, the Sanitation Department of Chewandswallow (the service) gave up and shut down service operations forever. The job was too infeasible. And the people (since the sanitation department had discontinued service operations) were left to suffer the oversized food.

With no way to stop the weather, the town's residents decided to abandon Chewandswallow as a matter of survival. They constructed boats out of stale bread sandwich style (cemented with peanut butter in the middle) and set sail to find a new home. They eventually found a new town, where they used the bread to make new homes. The residents (now in the new town) got used to buying food at supermarkets and shopping malls instead of getting food from the sky. As for the children, they began school again (since schools—in the new town—had opened). And no one ever got hit by a hamburger again nor went back to Chewandswallow to find out what happened to it.

The book ends with the grandchildren waking up to a snowy day. And the girl (Kate) imagines that the sun rising over a mound of snow was mashed potatoes with the sun looking like a pat of butter on top.


The follow up to the story, Pickles to Pittsburgh, tells of the kids receiving a postcard from their grandfather, who claims to be visiting the ruins of what was once the fabled town of Chewandswallow. The kids then go to sleep and dream that they are there with him, helping to rebuild the post-apocalyptic landscape and restore it to where it is livable again, as well as giving the massive amounts of food away to poverty-stricken developing nations and homeless shelters around the world. This proves to be difficult, as there could be more food storms on the way.

A third book in the series, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3: Planet of the Pies, was released on August 27, 2013. It details a dream Grandpa had about the first crewed expedition to Mars, where Martian society is being overrun by daily storms of pies.

Film adaptationsEdit

On September 18, 2009, Sony Pictures Animation released an animated film adaptation of the book, and the DVD was released on January 5, 2010. A new cast of characters were created for plot development, while the synopsis was changed from food falling from skies from meteorology to being made from a machine. Bill Hader and Anna Faris provided the voices of the two lead characters. Hader voices Flint Lockwood, "a young inventor who dreams of creating something that will improve everyone's life." Faris provides the voice for Samantha "Sam" Sparks, "a weathergirl covering the situation who hides her intelligence behind a perky exterior." James Caan, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, and Will Forte are also on the voice cast.[5] Co-writers and co-directors Philip Lord and Chris Miller said that it would be a homage to, and a parody of, disaster movies such as Twister, Armageddon, The Core, and The Day After Tomorrow.[6]

Unlike the book where a grandfather tells his two grandchildren a bedtime story about Chewandswallow, an inventor named Flint Lockwood, who lives in Swallow Falls (Chewandswallow's original name before the food weather), invents a machine that turns the water vapor in the atmosphere into food. Originally the phenomenon was limited to Swallow Falls, but overuse of the machine causes it to malfunction and the food weather taking a turn for the worse, as well as spreading it across the world. A sequel to the film, titled Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, was released on September 27, 2013, however, it is based on an original idea, and not Pickles to Pittsburgh.


In conjunction with the September 18, 2009 film release, Ubisoft released a game for Nintendo DS, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, and Xbox 360,[7][8] as well as a stereoscopic online mini game.[9]


  1. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: About The Book"
  2. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  3. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  4. ^ "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 3: Planet of the Pies: Judi Barrett, Isidre Mones: 9781442490277: Books". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  5. ^ Siegel, Tatiana. "Hader, Faris spice up 'Meatballs'; Caan, Samberg, Mr. T round out 3-D project". Variety. September 18, 2008.
  6. ^ Lee, Patrick (2006-08-16). "Meatballs Spoofs Disaster Flicks". SCI FI Wire. Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  7. ^ GameZone. "Video Games, News, Reviews, Walkthroughs, Cheat codes and More - Interact". Archived from the original on 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  8. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Ubisoft". Ubisoft.
  9. ^ "cloudy".