Tag Archives: Award Winning

Book Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs

Story – Judi Barrett

Pictures – Ron Barrett

Aladdin Picture Books

Ah, rains! And the things from the childhood that are associated with rains!! The rain dance, jumping in the puddles, school holiday for ‘rainy day’, and staying indoors with the aroma of food wafting from the kitchen. In fact, if you ask me, the food memories are always high up in the list of things that come to your mind when somebody says ‘rain’. But what if it actually started raining food? Bliss, or maybe not so?

‘Cloudy with a chance of meatballs’ by Judi Barrett is a tall tale about food that rains from the sky. So, the people in the town of Chewandswallow don’t really cook, instead they wait for the ‘weather’ to come thrice a day – bringing different foods with it. It rains milk and juice, it snows mashed potatoes and there are storms of burgers and sandwiches. People store the leftovers if they would get hungry between meals. The weather forecast tells people what to expect for the food the next day, to help them plan. But one fine day, or on a not-so-fine one, the weather turns for the worse. The kitchen high up starts messing, and nobody wants to eat the kind of food that was raining. There are storms of salt and pepper with tomato tornado. What happens to the people of Chewandswallow? How do they come out of the mess? If you have seen the movie, you’d probably know, but it’s worth reading the book.

The imagination and description of the weather is hilarious, and Barrett has literally cooked up a storm. You can’t help but marvel at the way things have been thought of. The illustrations by Ron Barrett are very impressive, and come with their own quirky details. The boy drinking juice from his umbrella and ‘Ralph’s Roofless Restaurant’ will make you laugh out loud. The text is quite simply brilliant, but with the illustrations, you are actually transported to the town of Chewandsawallow.

The book was first published more than 25 years ago, and it remains popular even today because of the absurdity and silliness, that is so convincing it is almost believable. It will definitely make the kids imagine and think about what impact does the change of weather has on people’s lives. A very fun, imaginative, creative and thoroughly enjoyable book!

What’s your favourite rain or food memory?

This post first appeared on Indian Moms Connect, where we partner with them for giving you monthly recommendations for books.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books for kids over 5, Children's Books

This one’s for Cat!

It’s Like This, Cat!

Story – Emily Cheney Neville

Pictures – Emil Weiss

Harper Trophy

 

There is no dearth of coming of age stories in the literature, but there’s something refreshing about quite a lot of them – the situations, the background of the protagonist, the characters, the writing style, all contribute to make each story unique. ‘It’s Like this, Cat!’ by Neville is a very deserving Newbery Award Winner in the series, and its simplicity just takes your breath away.

 

Dave is an average young boy, growing up in the crowded Manhattan, living with his father, with whom he locks horns at every opportunity (don’t all of us go through that phase!) and his mother, who has asthma, which gets worse with the stress caused by the friction between father and son. Then there is their neighbor, the ‘cat lady’ Kate, who seems to love and be more comfortable in the company of cats than humans and a boy Tom who is caught for a theft, whom Dave meets when he is looking for his pet cat, who is called, well, ‘Cat’. Dave and Cat are together in this adventurous journey of life, meeting new people, discovering life, and realizing the perspectives in life.

 

The author has captured the sentiments and pathos of a teenage boy beautifully, and very simply through Cat, and nowhere in the novel is she playing favorites. It’s not Dave being all correct and his father being wrong, or vice versa, but a very balanced narrative, which makes you realise how you subconsciously weave in a bit of your environment into your own psyche – and how close and alike you are to the parents who you think are actually your worst enemies at that age!

 

Do read it, it’s more than worth your while!

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Smile, please!

The Rajah’s Moustache

Story – Asha Nehemiah

Pictures – B G Varma

CBT Books

‘Moochhein ho to Natthu Lal Ji jaisi ho…’ – so goes a dialogue in a very popular Hindi film of yesteryears, and automatically pops up in my mind the moment I see someone with a large and bushy moustache. Rajah Muchacho Singh of Mooshipur makes me say the same thing in my head, but when I read the story, it is far, far funnier than the dialogue!

So, the king is quite proud of his moustache, which is ‘curly and whirly and twirly’, so much so that he sings songs for it, and has everything in his kingdom shaped the way his moustaches are – right from the trays and mirrors, and beds and shoes, and food and hedges in the garden, even down to his favorite horse’s tail. But one day, the unthinkable happens, and the Rajah’s moustache refuses to curl up any more, poking out of his face ‘like two royal spears’.

And so begins the tryst to make the Rajah’s moustache go curly, whirly and twirly again – the tricks are so ridiculously funny that they’ll make you want to roar with laughter. Does the Rajah’s moustache regain it’s lost glory – read the book to find out!

Asha Nehemiah enjoys huge popularity amongst us book lovers for the genuine charm and humor in her stories, and for the fact that the stories are never ‘dumbed down’. This book has won the first prize in the category Read Aloud/ Picture Books in the Competition for Writers of Children’s Books organised by CBT, and quite deservedly so. The pictures do full justice to the story and make the book even more endearing.

So, go on, read the book, and laugh out loud – in honour of Asha Nehmiah and Raja Muchacho Singh of Mooshipur!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books for kids over 5, Children's Books