by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
I don’t have too many regrets in life, but I wouldn’t mind taking back all the time I wasted worrying about the weather.
I started fretting about the forecast for my daughter’s wedding years before she was even considering marriage.
I worried about the weather at graduations—how wet weather might make it even harder than usual for our older family members to cross the campus, from the parking lot to the bleachers to the outside luncheon.
I obsessed about whether it would rain during family vacations.
And as a migraine sufferer impacted by the ever-mysterious-to-me changes in barometric pressure, I worried about cloud cover and dew points and humidity before I had a big presentation to make or an important classroom event to attend.
In the days before weather apps, I would read the newspaper, listen to the radio, and watch TV meteorologists (who I would either loathe or love depending on their predictions—I loved Boston’s venerated Dickie Albert in all kinds of weather). Generally, I drove myself crazy obsessing over something that is, at least in the short run, pretty uncontrollable by me.
What I have learned over the years is that while weather can be nice or messy, it alone does not make or break an event. Sometimes the skies cooperate and the weather is beautiful when you want it to be (sunny but not too hot, a few clouds but not too dry, a little chilly but not freezing). And sometimes they do not.
But what makes any event—wedding, graduation, party, classroom visit—successful and memorable are the people you meet. It’s the heart of the event that counts, and the memories will outshine any inclement weather.
Just this past weekend, we had a little weather stress when the meteorologists, weather apps, and news reports were all forecasting a major nor’easter, which threatened to ruin our Trick-or-Read Halloween party. We were fortunate enough to raise money to get hundreds of brand-new Halloween costumes for local kids who otherwise may not have been able to afford them. And we were so excited to celebrate with them with all kinds of books and authors and creativity events.
But thankfully the storm was not as bad as originally predicted. Other community events were canceled, so even more kids than we had hoped showed up for a great day celebrating imagination, reading, and the creativity of Halloween.
I have sat through uninspiring events on beautiful days and beautiful weddings huddled under a cold and damp tent. I’ve been on truly boring vacations with flawless weather; and fabulous vacations sitting inside a rented cabin at Old Orchard Beach in Maine, playing Yahtzee for hours on end while a storm raged outside.
Weather can make travel difficult—and make wearing heels in the grass trickier—but the point I’m trying to make is that, in and of itself, weather does not make or break an event…unless, of course, that weather consists of giant food items raining from the sky.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a multifaceted, entertaining book that was first published in 1978. Like many wonderful and timeless picture books, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is about many things: weather, storytelling, and food.
When I reread it, I thought about weather. When David Vozar read it, he thought about food:
“I was a very picky eater when I was in elementary school. To my mother’s embarrassment, she sent me to school each day with the same lunch: mayonnaise on white bread.
“I was also someone who never liked to be left out. So when the class spontaneously started trading sandwiches at lunchtime, I was quick to offer my precious mayo sandwich up for trade.
“It was at that moment that I learned no one else shared my unique taste in sandwiches. I shyly took it off the trading block when no one showed any interest in trading their sandwich for mine, and I enjoyed my one-of-a-kind lunch.”
“Grandpa’s imaginings are very close to a little kid’s funny bone—which everyone knows is located somewhere along the intestinal tract.” —Kirkus Reviews
My friend Nancy talks about people having “weather memory”—meaning, those huge snow drifts were really not as tall as my younger, pint-size self remembers. If that’s true, it could explain the grandfather’s imaginative bedtime story about the town of Chewandswallow and their peculiar (but delicious) weather.
In 2009, Sony Pictures released an animated adaptation of the book. The movie definitely takes some creative liberties with the source material, but people loved it so much that they made a sequel in 2013 and then an animated cartoon series in 2017!
The blog team was pretty excited to dive into this week’s Dollar Deal! The Book Boys report on some deliciously strange weather; six girl BFFs (that’s Book Friends Forever!) share their excitement about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in Book Talks; we dive into a comparison of the book and movie versions of this wacky story in Behind the Scenes; and a group of first graders shows how your class can create your own Chewandswallow weather forecasts in Cooked Up from a Book.
We hope you and your students enjoy this week’s Dollar Deal!
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs