Monday, January 23, 2012

Blackout by John Rocco

Happy Monday my dear reading friends.
The Queen here with a fun, yet realistic, book about a common issue many have experienced: Blackout by John Rocco.

I'm sure you'll find the illustrations delightful. Rocco has experienced blackouts many times, and actually interviewed people who have experienced the same. Their stories are what inspired this book. I hope you'll enjoy!
Happy Reading,
The Queen. 

Book Title: Blackout
Author and Illustrator: John Rocco

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (May 24, 2011)
Reading level: 4 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 40 pages
Genre: Picture book. Based on real events
ISBN: 978-1423121909

Book Theme:
community, compromising, adapting, new experiences.

Book Summary: From
One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights--in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it's like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun--talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts. The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When the electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal . . . but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights, and out comes the board game again.
Using a combination of panels and full bleed illustrations that move from color to black-and-white and back to color, John Rocco shows that if we are willing to put our cares aside for a while, there is party potential in a summer blackout.

Activity Adventures:

Young Readers:
Turn out the lights and get out your flashlights or candles for some shadow animal fun. See what kinds of creatures you can make. Come up with stories for your shadow puppets to act out. Video tape your plays and show them later to family and friends.

Older Readers:
Spend an evening without the aid of power. Turn out the lights, go outside for some star gazing, marshmallow roasting, playing board games by candlelight. Tell spooky stories around a pit fire.

Crafty Ideas:
Take a black or dark blue piece of construction paper and create your own blackout picture. What do you think you might see on a night with no man-made lights? white splatter paint will make for great stars.
Create a cut out of your house or apartment. Add some yellow to window to show candle light or flashlights. Have fun with your creation.

Writing Prompts:
Journal about a time when you had no power. What did you do? How did you handle the situation? Were you afraid or calm about it?

Discussion Questions:
Create a plan of action in case your family finds itself without power. Do you know where the flashlights are? Do you have spare batteries for them? What about candles? Wood for a fireplace or fire pit outside if it's cold or you need to do some cooking.

Talk about some fun ways you can spend the time until power comes back on.

If you are prepared, it wont be such a scary experience for little ones when the lights do go out.

Authors Arena

Author and Illustrator John Rocco
From the Jacket-flap:
John Rocco has held a wide variety of jobs in his life, from working in the shell-fishing industry, to designing attractions for Walk Disney World's Epcot, to creating illustrations for the DreamWorks movie Shrek. Since 2005, his focus has been on creating children's books, such as Wolf!Wolf! and Fu Find the Way. He has also created cover artwork for Rick Riordan's best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians serices and the Kane Chronicles.

John and his family live in Brooklyn, New York, where they have experienced their share of memorable summer blackouts.

Take some time to check out some of Rocco's other work. Rent Shrek for a movie night. Check out Riordan's books if you love fantasy and mythology. I'm reading this series right now. I bet you'll love it, too. 


Beth said...

We read this one as well! (It's a Cybils finalist.)

I find it interesting that we completely read both kids as girls, while all the reviews confirm that it's a brother and a sister. Now I want to look at it again. It inspired us to play more board games and to review where we keep the flashlights.

Kristen Schwartz said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book and seeing the illustrations. We live in the mountains and have gotten really good at making blackouts fun. They happen a little too frequently when it's stormy. :) Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Patricia T. said...

I reviewed this book a few weeks ago -- loved it. Great suggestion for activities. Very deserving of a Caldecott. I was happy with some of the other selections too.

Russ Cox said...

Joe's visual storytelling is always a treat. I must get this book for my personal collection.

MotherReader said...

Nice timing on the review of this Caldecott honor book! One of my favorites from the year!

Kerry Aradhya said...

I've heard so many good things about this book and can't wait to read it. I have it on hold at our local library and hope to pick it up today! Thanks for your review and activities!