Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Trilogy

I will admit, I was pretty eggcited to hear about the most recent Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book. I had eaten up the first two books, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Pickles to Pittsburgh, and was happily surprised to hear about the third book, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3: Planet of the Pies. That being said, Planet of the Pies left me unsatisfied.

The first Cloudy with a Chance is presented as a tall tale told by a grandfather to his grandkids. He tells them of Chewandswallow, an island town where food rained down from the sky for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The residents watched the news each morning to get their food forecast and prepare for the day’s meals. Eventually, the food weather takes a turn for the worse, serving up oversized portions of food and the residents of Chewandswallow are forced to abandon their town.

In the sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh, Grandfather is off on vacation. As his grandchildren wait for his return, they dream of what has become of Chewandswallow. In their dream, the town has been covered completely in oversized food. Scientists have taken advantage of the leftovers and Chewandswallow now serves as an endless supply of food for areas in need.

This leads us to the final book, Planet of the Pies. This story begins with astronauts landing on Mars. They have encountered a strange glutinous substance raining down on mars. A news reporter speculates that it could be pie filling. That night Grandfather dreams of traveling to Mars where it rains pies. He befriends the local Martians and quickly learns their language. Due to the pie rain the Marians have far too many pies, so Grandpa devises a plan to create a company which will export the pies back to Earth. He wakes from his dream to the news reporter explaining that the rain was not in fact pie filling and apologizing for his mistake.

The third book just seems to have a different flavor than the first two. While it still includes the same characters, the beloved town of Chewandswallow is glazed over in Planet of the Pies. And while Cloudy with a Chance and Pickles to Pittsburgh are both served as tall tales, Planet of the Pies is presented as if it could actually be happening in this fictional world, making this story hard to digest.  Planet of the Pies is also rather bland, and does not offer the same visual humor I had come to love in the first two books; Cloudy with a Chance offers a visual feast of spaghetti tornadoes and jello sunsets, whereas Planet of the Pies offers mounds of pie filling and not much else. To me, Planet of the Pies seemed like nothing more than an attempt to further the book franchise for the sake of the movies.


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