Monday, February 20, 2012


One of the finalists for the Cybils award in the fiction picture book category was Blackout by John Rocco. This is a fantastic picture book.  It tells the story of a little girl whose family is too busy to play a board game and what happens when all the lights in the city go out.

I love the colors of this book.  There is a stark visual contrast between the opening spread with the city lights all on and the fronts of the houses and stores lit up and the darkness that descends on the city.   I enjoyed the comic book paneling and thought it had a cinematic feel to it as well.  I love the simplicity of the text and how it leaves most of the storytelling to the illustrations.  This is definitely a picture book where reading the illustrations gives the reader most of the story.   

I love the premise of the book.   In a society where everything is constantly at our fingertips via smartphones we are certainly busy and preoccupied.  I think this book really captures the child's view of the excitement of slowing down and spending time together - making shadow puppets, climbing the roof to the city being lit only by stars (a true sight to behold for an urban child) and going down to the street to play in the fire hydrants and eat free ice cream.  This is a child's paradise - and I think this book captures that.  Two winters ago we had our power go out for several days, and one of the nights we set up a tent in our friends' front room and slept it in with our kids, cooked pancakes on a camp stove via head lamps and had instant oatmeal for breakfast.  My kids loved it and now every time it snows they tell us how they hope the power goes out so we can do it again.  I remember it being cold; they remember it being an adventure.  I love that this book captures the adventure point of view of the child and empowers the child to re-create that action on their own time frame - rather than the weather's.  Because surely playing games via candlelight (or sleeping in a tent in the living room) is even more fun in a comfortable temperature.

1 comment:

inluvwithwords said...

I really need to read more picture books. This one sounds lovely. And I can tell by the cover that the illustrations are beautiful as well. Makes me want to rush right out to the library. Thanks for the review.