Aug 16, 2011



Blackout by John Rocco
Illustrated by John Rocco
Published by Hyperion Book
Caldecott Honor 2012

     "It started out as a normal summer night.  The city was loud and hot." Inside an apartment building, a young boy reaches for a board game to play with his family. But they are all busy: his sister's on the phone, his mom's on the computer, and his dad's cooking. He climbs the steps up to his room and starts playing videogames when suddenly, "The lights went out. All of them." The whole city is dark and quiet at first. The family stayed inside for a while, playing with shadows on the wall and contemplating the idea of playing the board game together, but it got "too hot and sticky to sit inside." They went up to the rooftop and then they saw the lights (stars) and people from the neighborhood up on the roofs. "It was a block party in the sky." Downstairs, on the sidewalk, the party continued. A restaurant was handing out free ice cream, the fire hydrants were opened and people were making music. "And no one was busy at all." When the lights came back on "everything went back to normal." Until the young boy, to the delight of his family, has the brilliant idea of turning the lights off, and they all sat down to finally play the board game.
     Blackout is one of my favorite picture books to have been published this year. I love Rocco's illustrations and pacing. It captures perfectly what it felt like to be in New York City during the last big blackout. It was a block party! The sense of family extended beyond the walls of the apartments to include whole neighborhoods. We were almost sad when the lights came back on... Lovely book.

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