Sunday, February 19, 2012


Rocco, John. 2011. BLACKOUT. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423121909 [Suggested Grade Levels PK - 2]

BLACKOUT takes the reader to New York City on a typical hot summer night. A small child is trying to find someone in his family that wants to play a board game. Everyone in the family is too busy doing their own thing to play a board game with him.

“And then. The lights went out. All of them.”

After the initial shock of total darkness, candles were lit and flashlights were turned on. The family settled down to make shadow puppets, but it was too hot inside after the power went off. They join residents of the neighborhood as they take to the streets and the rooftops.

Dark colors fill the illustrations to give the reader the illusion of a power outage. Once the families start lighting candles and turning on flashlights, the illustrations have a certain glow and warmth to them. Being in the dark can be a scary situation, but Rocco shows how one neighborhood makes the most of their newfound time when no one is busy and a sense of community emerges. There’s free ice cream, couples singing, people dancing, and firemen opening hydrants to cool the kids off. It is a party on the street until the lights come back on. Then everything goes back to normal until the family chooses to have a voluntary power outage by turning their lights off.

Turn off the lights and have a flashlight reading event in the library. Read this book in conjunction with TV Turn-Off week. Brainstorm activities that children can do without electricity or lights.

Other books dealing with power outages and turning off the TV:
Collins, Suzanne. WHEN CHARLIE McBUTTON LOST POWER. ISBN 9780142408575
Novak, Matt. MOUSE TV.ISBN 9781453725559

By Jane Jergensen

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