Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Book Poster Image

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Zany food-as-weather tale full of humor, great drawings.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Lots to learn about food (vocabulary like "gorgonzola"), but nothing too realistic about the weather. 

Positive messages

Deal with whatever comes your way with optimism and good humor.

Positive role models

Grandpa and his grandkids Kate and Henry are cheerful, take crazy things in stride, and try to be helpful dealing with the wacky food-filled weather and its consequences. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the first books in a series about crazy food events in the sky. The rambling text may put off some younger readers, but kids and adults will enjoy the zany story and detailed illustrations. The book was adapted for an animated movie (and sequel), and the movie inspired a video game.

What's the story?

Hamburgers fall from the sky, as do scrambled eggs (with a side of toast) as do cherry pie and, you guessed it, meatballs. When the weather turns nasty, down rains a deluge of stinky gorgonzola, overcooked broccoli, and thick tomato sauce. Can Grandpa, Kate, and Henry find a way to deal with it?

Is it any good?


This story is a gratifying, if lightweight, dish of foolishness. It aims for laughs and gets them -- through sight gags for both kids and adults, the deadpan tones of an old-style weather forecast ("Dinner one night consisted of lamb chops, becoming heavy at times, with occasional ketchup"), and the sheer preposterousness of events. Don't look for hidden depths here; the story lives on the surface, and as slapstick it works just fine. It also has a bit of science fiction, too: Those giant T-bones could easily have come from a spaceship.

The lengthy text rambles at times, which can be a problem for some younger listeners, but the funny story and detailed illustrations will hold most kids' interest. The illustrations look like old-fashioned comic-strip drawings or something found in a turn-of-the-century magazine, with hectic line work and wealth of details. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about weird weather. What's the strangest weather you've ever experienced?

  • If weather really was food, what foods would you want to have fall from the sky?

  • How do you think the first movie adapation compares with the book? 

Book details

Author:Judi Barrett
Illustrator:Ron Barrett
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Brothers and sisters
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1978
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Available on:Paperback, Hardback, Kindle

This review of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was written by

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Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written bypleeoh October 24, 2010
Kid, 12 years old September 4, 2009

Love it!

Almost a classic and the very best thing for reading to a child when she/he wants a little humor. Also, a perfect book for kids who are just starting to read!!
Parent of a 5 year old Written byfoodwarrior May 24, 2013

Read aloud for lunch to your kid(s).

I read this story to my son when he was four years old (he is five now) and he really enjoyed it. I think the idea of weather expressed as food and how it drove the city's people from their home really appealed to his imagination.