John Rocco, Author and Illustrator
Disney Hyperion Books, May 2011, Fiction
Suitable for: Ages 4- 8
Themes: Power outage, Reassurance, Family fun
Opening/Synopsiss: It started out as a normal summer night. The city was loud and hot. Inside, everyone was busy. And then…the lights went out. All of them. Nothing worked at all. A family living in a big city is busy at home one evening when the lights go out. Mom is on the computer, Dad is cooking in the kitchen, a girl is talking on the phone, and a boy is playing a game. The parents get out flashlights and candles, but it gets too hot and sticky. The daughter asks if they can go up to the rooftop where they discover the stars in the night sky, and a block party on every roof with neighbors chatting. They discover a street party where vendors are giving out free food. Just as they are having fun doing nothing, the lights come back on. The family finds itself enjoying the blackout and rethinking what is important in their lives.
Why I liked this book: This is a very simple and beautifully illustrated book. The Blackout is a fun read and helps lessen a child’s anxiety. It is a great discussion book to help parents talk about blackouts and power outages with children. The family learns an important lesson about needing all their electronics. They have a party on the roof top, play games and connect as a family. I love that Rocco has a picture of Thomas Edison hanging on one of the walls. Activity: This is a perfect time to devise a family plan and make it fun. When the weather warms, try a “lights out” night with your kids and focus on what you could do as a family. Play charades, do hand shadows, and tell stories. Cook outside. Talk about what basic supplies you should have on hand to ease any discomfort. And, you don’t need a power outage to declare a “family night” minus the electronics. Be creative. For more books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.