Blackout

John Rocco, Illustrator
John Rocco, Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-2190-9
Reviewed on: 03/07/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Hardcover - 978-4-89572-834-8
Hardcover - 978-986-216-962-9
DVD-Video - 978-0-545-57146-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-545-57147-0
Hardcover - 48 pages - 978-89-6177-057-6
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Rocco's sublime account of a city blackout reveals a bittersweet truth: it sometimes takes a crisis to bring a family together. In a series of graphic novel–style panels, a small child tries to convince family members to play a board game one hot summer night, but they're all too busy. When the lights go out, though, the neighborhood comes alive and the whole family drifts up to the roof to look at the stars: "It was a block party in the sky." Rocco (Fu Finds the Way) gets everything right: the father's pained, sheepish smile when he says he has no time to play; the velvety dark and glowing candlelight of the blackout (as well as the sense of magic that can accompany one); and the final solution to the problem of a too-busy family (a private blackout, courtesy of a light switch). The high-energy visuals that characterize Rocco's other work get dialed back a little. In the most poignant spread, the family sits on the stoop, eating ice cream: "And no one was busy at all." It's a rare event these days. Ages 4–8. (May)
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