Pickles to Pittsburgh: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Book 2

Common Sense Media says

Winning illustrations but short on plot.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Could inspire discussions about hunger, famine, and relief efforts at home and abroad. 

Positive messages

If one community has more than enough food, it's a good idea to share the overabundance with those who don't have enough. Think creatively to solve problems.

Positive role models

Kate thinks creatively to solve a problem of too much food in one place buy redistributing it to other places where people are hungry. She uses her skills and imagination to help others, even strangers far away. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pickles to Pittsburgh is the second book in the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs series. The comic-strip illustrations are clear winners with the kids, holding their interest through thin slices of plot. Here images of crazy giant food mixes with the rather serious topic of world hunger, all in sister Kate's wild dream. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Tasty things can happen in your dreams, and some of them can be downright delicious -- just ask Kate! In a dream, she and Henry fly to the land of Chewandswallow, where broccoli is as big as trees and it rains popcorn. She gets the idea to transport the giant food from a town that has too much to places that have too little.

Kate also finds that being awake can be just as appetizing -- especially with the return of a travel-weary relative!

Is it any good?


In dreams, all things are possible. That's the lesson Kate learns in PICKLES TO PITTSBURGH, a book that brings together the themes of world community, wanderlust, and watercress sandwiches. Unfortunately, the actual plot of the book isn't as filling. Most of the action takes place in Kate's dream.

Fortunately for a book that relies so strongly on visuals, the comic book-like drawings are full of action and detail. Another nice touch is that the pages illustrating Kate's dream are done in full color, while those depicting her awake state are in black-and-white. There's so much going on in the illustrations that young readers can forgive -- or forget -- the lack of action in the story line itself.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about issues like poverty, hunger, and global community. Why would you help someone who lives on the other side of the world whom you've never met? What can you do to help others in your community and beyond?

  • How does this book compare with the series starter, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

  • What's funny about giant food? 

Book details

Author:Judi Barrett
Illustrator:Ron Barrett
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Brothers and sisters, Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 2000
Number of pages:30
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Available on:Hardback, Kindle, Paperback

This review of Pickles to Pittsburgh: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Book 2 was written by

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  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 7 years old February 23, 2009

pickles to pittsburgh

Adult Written by69er April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written byjustkylermat August 23, 2009


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