Here’s a trio of books with a similar unnatural disaster theme. In each one something unusual invades and threatens to destroy the small town in which it is set.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
By Judi Barrett, Illustrated by Ron Barrett (1978)
Chewandswallow is like most other towns except for its strange weather: food falls from the sky! This turns from a source of sustenance to one of danger when the portions become ominously large.
Kids eat this book up and it ranks as one of my boys’ all-time favorites. They love to imagine what it would be like if food fell from the heavens. The illustrations are wonderfully detailed and filled with sight gags. The story-within-a-story narrative structure is neat too.
Bad Day at Riverbend
Written/Illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg (1995)
Sheriff Ned Hardy keeps law and order in the quiet little Old West town of Riverbend. “It was the kind of place where one day was just like all the rest.” That is until mysterious stripes of shiny, greasy slime begin to cover everything. The townspeople freak and Sheriff Hardy does his best to figure out the cause of the sinister markings.
This is a pretty dark story with a surprising twist at the end. It’s best the first time through if you don’t know how it plays out. I’ll only say that it neatly resolves itself for the reader, but not for the hapless folks of Riverbend. It’s this sense of ambiguity that makes it somewhat unsettling and extremely memorable.
The Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Written/Illustrated by James Flora (1976)
When I first came across books by James Flora I was struck by his unique art style. His bizarre settings are intricately detailed and characterized by humans and creatures with often grotesque profiles. Turns out Mr. Flora created album covers for jazz artists in the 40’s and 50’s before turning to children’s books. You can check out a bunch of his early here.
The Great Green Turkey Creek Monster is a whimsical tale of a snakelike plant creature called the Hooligan Vine that takes over the town of Turkey Creek, creating mischief and causing the citizens to panic. The vines resemble Richard Scarry’s worms in a way. Turns out the only defense against it is to play the trombone. It’s not the greatest story but the illustrations are fun.