Book of the Week: Blackout

Book of the Week, Children's

Blackout by John Rocco

Published: 2011 by Hyperion Books

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I’m a sucker for picture books set in New York City. I don’t know if it’s because of my love of the City, or because the often beautiful portrayals.

I love how the lights along the Brooklyn Bridge look like stars, not lights. It adds a magical quality to the setting, and the story.

Even though this is a picture book, I sometimes felt it read like a graphic novel. Why? Because parts of the text was in, not speech bubbles, but blocked off in squares. Not only that, but some of the illustrations were in four separate squares covering the page. I really found this interesting.

I love that this book is about conquering boredom! Some that both children and adults face.

This book show the importance of taking time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy, not just life, but one’s family. Family time seems to dwindle in today’s world. What happened to playing board games, taking around the family dinner table, and even getting to know your neighbors.

The youngest member of the family, only wants to play a board game. I really like that such a simple game was all that it would take to make him happy. He didn’t need video games, a cell phone, etc..

This book made me recall that blackout NJ and NY experienced a few summers ago. I love any book that stirs up memories.

Blackouts aren’t always fun, but this book showed that there are some benefits. Like playing shadow puppets by candlelight, star-gazing on the roof of one’s apartment building, and just simply hanging out with friends, family, and neighbors.

There was an old-time feel to this book.

I loved the colors used in this book. Various shades of lush blues, smokey grays, etc. The colors, shades, and tones are the perfect complement to the beautiful story being told.

The writing is simple, but not so simple where it’s isn’t strong. Each sentence packs a punch, and made the story really come to life in the mind’s eye.

I loved that the stars are described as lights! Again, so magical.

This was a really fun book, for kids and adults. And I feel that this would make a perfect bedtime story.

This book made me wish that there were books like this around when I was little. I shows how children’s lit has grown and flourished.

There’s one illustration in particular that really captured the spirit of New York for me – the illustration of the New York skyline lit up with a million tiny lights.

As a reader, I felt that I could identify with each and every character in the book – from the chatty teen to the bored kid looking for some fun.

Can I just say, I love all the shadows and silhouettes.

I love how this book made me gush over it.