by John Rocco


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781423121909
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication date: 05/24/2011
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 86,620
Product dimensions: 9.50(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile: BR (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 7 Years

About the Author

John Rocco ( has held a wide variety of jobs in his life, from working in the shell fishing industry, to designing attractions for Walt 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!, a Borders Original Voices Award-winner; Moonpowder; and Fu Finds the Way. He has also created the cover artwork for Rick Riordan's best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Kane Chronicles series. John and his family live in Brooklyn, New York, where they have experienced their share of memorable summer blackouts.

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Blackout 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
AndrewJenkins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book starts out with cartoon-style pictures, several to a page, with perspective and color, though as it is already night when the book¿s narrative begins, the colors are somewhat limited. It show various scenes in lit rooms, with very little dialog or description. Many of the pictures are so eloquent that they do not require a single word, like a little girl going upstairs despondently with her sympathetic cat after various adults have declined to play a game with her.The setting is a large urban center, probably New York City. The setting is crucial to the book, as the message of the book is that people are separated from each other and a bit unhappy in their normal lives, but during the blackout when people's schedules are disrupted and usual activities are not possible, they have a joyous time being together. In a village in another part of the world, people would already be much closer to each other. In a countryside town in the US, kids are already used to prowling around at night, so a blackout would not be so exciting. After the blackout, which we see sweeping across the city, the people are in silhouette, but the action and fun begins. The story is very well told in pictures, and really hardly needs words.
aakauff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everything is as usual in the city until the electricity goes out, forcing everyone to stop what they are doing and come together, if only for a short while. After a sudden blackout in the city, there is no using the internet, no cell phones, no cooking. What¿s a family to do? The parents and children in this picture book make the most of their time together, going outside and playing a board game underneath the only lights still on¿the stars. The sparse text allows the rich, full-page illustrations to saturate the pages and spark the reader's imagination. A relevant read in today¿s over-connected world, Blackout will remind readers of warm summer nights, game nights with the family and simpler times. While the premise of the plot is simple, the illustrations are sure to captivate. For ages 6-8. Recommended.
dulcenash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a family who after experiencing a night in the dark learns to enjoy the time together. This is a great book that has lots of illustrations and very little story line. This book can open children¿s imagination.
shazzerwise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful book - a surefire Caldecott contender, I would think.
missbrandysue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The main character, a young boy, can't find any family members to play a board game with him until the city's lights go out. Then his family spends the time playing his game and having a block party with the other families during the blackout. Sadly, when the lights go back on the family dispenses again but soon after the boy turns off the lights and the family restarts their game.A very great family tale that really hits a good note about spending too much time with technology and not enough time with family. John Rocco is one of my favorite childrens book authors. His tales are so full of honesty and he teaches such great life lessons through his simple words and amazing illustrations!
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No one has time to play a game with a little boy. Then the lights go out and everything is changed. The family¿s electronic gadgets don¿t work and suddenly everyone has time. The family goes up on the roof and then down to the street where everyone is having a party. And even when the power comes back on, the family decides now and then to voluntarily cut the power off and enjoy each other¿s company.A beautifully illustrated story of how crisis remind people of the important things in life, told from the point of view of a child. ¿Inside, everyone was busy.Much too busy.And then¿The lights went out.`Mom!¿¿
BeguileThySorrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
the story is ok, but younger kids got a little restless with it and it was too simple for older kids. but the colors are nice and the idea behind it is too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KipZ More than 1 year ago
In the book Blackout by John Rocco, a little girl is trying to spend some time with her family, but everyone is too busy. Mom is working; Dad’s making dinner, and bossy big sister is chatting on the phone. What else is there to do in the big city? The next thing they know, all of the power goes out. Maybe it’s for the best. Now is the time to spend with the family. This realistic fiction story is told from the point of view of the little girl, who is also the narrator. The theme is that you should take a break and spend some time with your family whenever you can. This book is very relatable and is for 4-8 year olds. The conflict is the family is way too busy to spend time with each other. All of the people in the family are busy, and the little girl wants to be with her family. The power outage was the time for the family to spend time together. It brought them closer together because even after the power came back on, the girl wants the family to spend more time together. They do because they want to; so, I think they got the idea. The illustrations of this book are so simple but are also very beautiful. They are very peaceful and abstract with a lot of color. One illustration that has a lot of colors is when the family was very hot and went up to the top of the roof looking at the stars. The colors are dark but the stars have a very bright which shows how the power is out and there's nothing to do. The text is all in caps and very bold except for the one word,”sorry,” on page 3. I think John Rocco did this because the dad really felt sorry for the little girl. The illustrations are by John Rocco as well. He used a graphite pencil to make the outline and then colored it in with photoshop. The light shading he uses in the book make the pictures stand out from the background and really pop . Even though this book is made for little kids, anyone who reads it will love it. It has a very basic setting, and I love how this book is so relatable.It’s a normal thing for the power to go out, have your family to be really busy, and want to spend time with them.It’s very easy and simple to read but also very exciting. I think John Rocco did an amazing job explaining the story by the illustrations, in the book because he made the characters very lifelike. This book is amazing, fun, and shows how nothing is better than spending time with your family.
mrsvaljones More than 1 year ago
In the city, everyone is distracted. Parents play on the computer and siblings chat on the phone, but no one talks to each other and everyone is too busy to spend time together. In this stunningly illustrated book, Rocco beautifully details the enjoyable time a family can share with one another when an unexpected blackout occurs. The family takes a trip to the roof, where the stars shine brightly in the sky and back to the street where melting ice cream is handed out freely to children who dance in the street. From creating shadow puppets with a flashlight to playing board games by candlelight, this rare blackout turns into a fun night. Blackout shows that a great time can be spent with family. Recommended for readers age 4-7. *Caldecott Honor Book
MarmaladeLibby More than 1 year ago
In the city where everyone is busy, busy, busy...something terrible happens...a BLACKOUT! Oh no! Now what will these busy, busy people do? My 7-year-old's thoughts: It was good. My favorite part was when they went upstairs and onto the roof. When they got up there they saw the lights and people! Those two pages were the best. I want to take this to my class and read it to them now! My thoughts: What a fun story! I love the idea of "turning it all off" and just hanging out together. We've been doing that more and more at night. We won't even turn on the TV some nights, will sit down in our chairs or go outside for the entire evening, and read or just plain hang out together. I love evenings like this! The two pages my daughter loved are my favorites too when they emerge onto the rooftop and look up at the amazing night sky with all of its gorgeous stars! Then they look around and see tons of other people have done the same thing and wave to them! How fun is that!? The illustrations were a bit different from others, which I liked. I especially liked that some pages had a "graphic" feel to them with many pictures and others were full pages of wonder. There's no wondering about why this was awarded the Caldecott Medal of Honor!
A-Library-Friend More than 1 year ago
This is a great story of families today and how everyone seems to always be too busy for each other. The Blackout brings them together with each other and the community in a new way and does so using OUTSTANDING illustrations. The ending gives us hope that if we rethink things - the modern family can survive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased the book for my 5 year old grandson. It was sent directly to him so I did not have the opportunity of reading it first. I thought it would be quite appropo as he had recently experienced a power outage where he lived. I am happy to say that he enjoyed the book immensely!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago