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Friday, September 2, 2011

Blackout, written and illustrated by John Rocco. Disney, Hyperion. Hachette, 2011. $18.50 ages 3 and up

"Nothing worked at all.

The city was dark and quiet.

And still."

Many people who lived in her path and felt Hurricane Irene's wrath last week are still without power. While it is hard to fathom the destruction and the resulting chaos, I am hoping that some have made the same lovely discovery that the family in this wondrous book makes.

A summer night in the city is turned on its ear, following beastly heat.  We have a quick look at the family at work. The older child is on the phone, Mom is on the computer and Dad is cooking dinner. The younger child has hauled a game from a top shelf and is looking for a playing partner. Sister is too busy. Dad is too busy. Mom is also too busy.

The cat and the little one make their way upstairs to watch TV. Then, everything changes. The lights go out! Scared and lonely, they wait for rescue. Mom arrives with a flashlight. Sudden quiet has descended. The flashlight and a candle offer some small bits of comfort and entertainment. The apartment is soon too hot to offer comfort. The roof?

Such beautiful light fills the night sky. All the neighbors make their way to adjoining rooftops...there is much fun to be had. Nothing to keep them so busy anymore. What's a family to do? And what happens when the power is restored. I'll leave that to you.

There are few words and little light, but John Rocco creates a most endearing tale of family and celebration, and of community. His use of light and dark is most effective, creating shadows at every turn and offering warmth in the midst of the 'blackout'. 

So, go get a candle, grab this book and enjoy time spent together!

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