Book Review: Blackout by John Rocco


Blackout by John Rocco

It was a normal summer night in the city.  That meant it was hot and noisy.  In their apartment, the family was busy.  Her older sister was on the phone.  Her dad was cooking.  Her mother was using the computer.  Everyone was much too busy to play a board game with her.  So she started playing a video game on her own.  Until the lights went out all over the city.  At first, the family huddled in the dark near their candles.  But then as it got hotter and hotter inside, they headed to the roof where they found a party going on.  They headed out to the street where there were more people enjoying the blackout.  The family wasn’t busy anymore.  But what would happen when the lights came back on?

Rocco tells this story in a nearly wordless format, allowing the illustrations to carry the story itself.  The illustrations are framed like a graphic novel, giving the entire book a hip feel.  Rocco’s illustrations have a wonderful play of light and dark, celebrating the stars, candlelight, the cool glow of a screen, and the warm yellow of flashlight beams.

This is a book about slowing down, enjoying the time together, and yet the book never becomes didactic or preachy.

Share this with a group of children, but prepare to have some time with the lights off to allow them to have their own adventures in the dark.  Just a few candles around the room, and it’s magical.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

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