Read Blackout by John Rocco Online


One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights--in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it's likeOne hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights--in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it's like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun--talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts. The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When the electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal . . . but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights, and out comes the board game again.Using a combination of panels and full bleed illustrations that move from color to black-and-white and back to color, John Rocco shows that if we are willing to put our cares aside for a while, there is party potential in a summer blackout....

Title : Blackout
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781423121909
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 40 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Blackout Reviews

  • Trudi
    2019-02-12 05:39

    Fantastic illustrations, and a sweet engaging story with a wonderful message about turning off the devices in this tech'ed out life to simply "be" with each other. A refreshing, optimistic examination of a New York City blackout far removed from what really happened that one time in 1977.And don't forget this movie:

  • Kathryn
    2019-01-24 07:34

    4.5 STARSI really enjoyed this story about a family so plugged into technology they don't have time to play with the youngest child... Until a blackout forces everyone in the city to get creative. The resulting imagination and social activity is great. I also love some of the little details in the illustrations like how sympathetic Thomas Edison looks from his portrait looking down at the little girl just before the blackout ;-)

  • Manybooks
    2019-02-23 00:48

    John Rocco's Caldecott Honour winning Blackout presents an entertaining (engagingly, expressively illustrated) way of demomstrating to children that a universal, that a city-wide power outage does not necessarily have to become some huge and inherently problematic, potentially destructive fiasco, and that it can actually be both fun and even a good family and community togetherness tool (if of course the power does manage to come back on quickly, and in good time, something that might have been worth mentioning as an authorial aside at the back).Now John Rocco's featured illustrations are indeed simply spectacular, and while generally I would actually tend to consider them a bit too dark hued for my personal aesthetic tastes, for the topic, for the story presented in and by Blackout, namely a large summer night power failure in an urban metropolis, they are indeed and in fact the perfect complement, the perfect descriptive vision, showing how the main and featured family (and actually the entire neighbourhood) not only cope, but even manage to enjoy the lights-out situation (from chatting, playing shadow puppets, going up on the roof and realising that without the constant artificial lights, the sky is lit with and by stars to a fun and spontaneous summertime street party). Highly recommended (and not just for its entertainment value either, as Blackout also celebrates family time as being fun time and that one does not always have to be electronically connected, which is glowingly, and with no pun intended on my part, demonstrated in the last two illustrative spreads, where even though the lights have now come back on, the family decides to not simply return to phone calls, computers, cooking, but to play a board game and by candlelight at that).

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-02-07 23:23

    Oh, I just got such a kick out of this book! Funny and sweet and quirky and heartwarming! The pictures are wonderful, from the cover on. At first I thought the cover and the premise would be my favorite parts of the book, but I quickly warmed up to the entire story.I did feel sorry for the scared cat and the scared dog each in a single frame. But the stars were heavenly, and the neighborhood camaraderie was heartwarming and fun. And the solution at the end was genius. I suppose this is a bit of a message book, but it’s told in such an enjoyable manner and has such great pictures, for me it was pure fun. The story is wonderfully fun to read aloud (in blackouts or with full lighting) and also a good book for early readers to read aloud.The book is large and the illustrations have a “big” feel, even on those pages where they’re broken up and there are multiple pictures on a page. They’re great, even though some are lovely and some are rather cartoonish.Well, and I have always enjoyed playing board, card, etc. games, so I felt for the child who couldn’t find anyone to play with them, until a couple different things happened. I love the line: “…but not everyone likes normal.” This story is both a quiet type and a bit of a rollicking ride, and I really enjoyed it.4 ½ stars

  • Steph Sinclair
    2019-02-23 07:20

    My daughter and I really enjoyed this one. The illustrations were beautiful and eye catching. It's very different from the illustrations I'm used to seeing in children's books because the technique used gives the pictures great depth making them very vivid. One thing I noticed from the start was that the family featured in the story was multi-racial. That was pretty cool. This is yet another must buy for the kids' library.

  • Katie Fitzgerald
    2019-02-09 05:30

    This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.This picture book opens with a full-page illustration of a little girl looking bored, staring out the window. This nameless little girl, who is the youngest in her family, is lonely because everyone is too busy to play with her. Her sister chats on the phone, her mother taps away on the computer, and her father is busy in the kitchen, stirring a pot on the stove. She decides to keep herself company with a video game, but just as she settles in, all the lights go out! From that moment, things change in the little girl's household. In the silence, she and her family huddle together and by the light of candles and flashlights, climb to the roof. The neighbors join in, and soon there is "A block party in the sky" and another one in the street below, where a local business gives away free ice cream, a firefighter allows children to use the fire hydrant as a sprinkler, and a couple plays and sings music."No one was busy at all," observes the girl. Everyone has time for her because they are disconnected from their other duties and distractions. Without technology and electricity to keep them occupied, everyone must turn to one another for entertainment, support, comfort, and enjoyment, a habit one family may just not want to lose even after the blackout is over.There is very little text in this book, sometimes not even a full sentence on a page. The illustration style really lends itself to comparisons with graphic novels, as it uses a mix of large and small panels, as well as different font faces, sizes, and colors to convey not just narration, but dialogue and sounds as well. The panels show the slow movement of time from moment to moment, and also zoom in and out appropriately to highlight intimate family moments as well as larger community-oriented happenings.As with many of my favorite illustrators (Marla Frazee and Sophie Blackall, namely), Rocco's pictures give us lots to look at and discover that isn't expressly stated on the page. One of my favorite moments early on in the book occurs when we see the family's apartment building at considerable distance on one page, and then zoom in on their windows more closely on the next. Flipping back and forth between the two pages shows that the same scenes are depicted on each page, just with different levels of focus. I love that the illustrations tell most of the family's story, while the text focuses more on the universality of the blackout experience.I love the way this story isn't just about what happens during a blackout, but about the way disconnecting technology and electricity for one evening brought a family close together. The illustrations are beautiful - they show how many colors make up the dark - blues, blacks, grays, greens - and how bright even the stars can seem when nothing else is lit up. This would be a great story to have on hand to read to kids during a power outage, and it's also a neat way to share the experience with kids who haven't yet experienced a blackout, especially city kids whose entire lives are lit by streetlamps and store signs. I think this is also a great, positive title for combating fear of the dark, and for empowering younger siblings who often feel left out or inferior.

  • Laima
    2019-01-30 04:37

    What a wonderful book! This is a very simple story about a blackout in a large and noisy city. A child wants attention but everyone in his family is too busy. When the power suddenly goes out there is only darkness. All the noise stops and the family comes together to spend time on the roof enjoying the stars and on the neighbourhood street. This book really makes a point of how wired and noisy our lives are. We need to take time out to enjoy the natural landscape and company of others.The illustrations are gorgeous and the words are simple. Together they make for a terrific read for children ages 4 to 8.

  • Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
    2019-02-01 04:24

    Cute book about a family who is spending a lot of time with their electronic devices and then the power goes out and they spend time as a family and time with neighbors. At the end, they realized they enjoyed their time spent together as a family and they re-enact the blackout to have family time together. Well illustrated and cute.

  • Leslie
    2019-02-10 06:30

    "If you are a fan of John Rocco’s work, or have yet to become one, Blackout is lovely book to check out, regardless of your age. However, it is one of those picture books to be read to or with someone, because it is all about spending time together. The most tragic image would be the 6-year-old sitting on the couch reading this while their family members are plugged-in elsewhere, too busy or distracted."[...]"Blackout is done more in the style of a graphic novel in movement and format; even the windows of a building become panels. This is exciting for those who are interested in preparing the young one for such shelves; a potential complaint for more traditional picture book readers. The eye is ready to take everything in, make a study of Rocco’s artwork. I think the format works to focus the sequence of the story which is heavily illustrated and it minds the text, spare as it is."Blackout has incredible relevancy. It is a book about a family getting caught up in their own pursuits, in their individual rooms, in their nuclear home. I like that the setting isn’t a sunshine-inspired jaunt to the park or market where everyone is radiantly garbed and smiling and energetic with Spring. In a book where time spent together as family and/or community is ultimately our choice, the dark is a perfect setting. At an hour where one can be alone or excused to their own devices most easily, a decision to be in company doing family building activities is especially poignant."[...]"I like that the sense of loneliness on the part of the boy isn’t because he doesn’t have something he could be doing—it isn’t from boredom, or even a lack of potential companionship as the cat is constantly by his side. Whether one is thinking about their own home or community, the idea of being alone is a terrible feeling—made worse when the lights go out."L @ omphaloskepsis

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-07 00:26

    On a hot summer night in the city, everyone is "much too busy" to play a board game with a bored little boy. He resigns himself to videogames until...the power goes out! As the family is plunged into darkness and forced to give up their evening of cooking/phoning/computing/videogaming, a new side of the city is seen, one where there are block parties in the sky, free ice cream on the street, and a new view of how to spend an evening at home with your family. I loved John Rocco's artwork in Moonpowder, so I was excited to see this book. His transistion from color to grayscale during the blackout, and the use of twinkling lights, is lovely, as are the pages with comics-like panels to show action. A couple confusions kept this from being a 5-star book for me (I thought the protagonist was a girl; why did the blackout initially seem to disappear all the people except the main family?; on the page with two images of the lightswitch, why does the switch not move?). Still and all, this is one of my favorite new picture books. Even with the panels, I think it could work as a small group read-aloud. I especially love the unremarked-upon instances of diversity, like the mixed-race family and what I took to be a gay couple carrying a flashlight, the one guy's hand affectionately on the other's shoulder.

  • Luann
    2019-02-18 05:49

    This has a very "comic book" feel to it - even though only a few of the pages are split into panels. Many of the illustrations are full-page or even two-page spreads. But the style of the illustrations and the font of the text contribute to the comic book feel. I chuckled over many fun details in the illustrations. I especially loved all the shadow puppets on the walls and the cat who often showed up as a giant shadow in the flashlight spotlight. This was a nice choice for a Caldecott Honor this year.I loved how the family came together when the power went out - and stayed together when encouraged by the youngest in the family. The power goes out a lot where I live, but we live out of town where our neighbors aren't very close geographically. We often end up calling around to neighbors when the power goes out to make sure we aren't the only ones in the dark! I've never thought much about what it's like during a power outage in a city like New York, and now I feel like I know at least a bit of what it would be like.I'm with other reviewers who said they thought the youngest in the family was a girl. There were really no clues to say one way or the other except when his dad calls him "buddy." Then I looked at the boy's face and thought, "Well, I guess he could be a boy, just with really long hair." Then I read the book synopsis which calls him a boy. I would have liked more of a clue earlier so that I wasn't thinking wrong the entire time I was reading the book.

  • Sara
    2019-02-11 07:43

    Blackout is a story about a family in the middle of a blackout in their town; as the book opens, the reader sees that the son of the family wants to spend time with his family and play a board game. However, since everyone is so busy with technology (sister is on the phone, mother is on the computer, and the father is cooking), nobody wants to play with him. When the blackout occurs, the family realizes that it is fun to just do the simple things with the family without worrying about technology or what needs to be done. In the end, the family joins a block party and they have fun as a family again. The valuable lesson that these characters learned is that they need to make time to spend with family. The message in this book is one that we could all learn from; as humans, we tend to get so busy with our everyday lives and sometimes, we just need to take the time to enjoy our families and forget about everything else. Moreover, the illustrations are wonderful and full of detail; they are very well done.

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2019-01-26 00:26

    I liked this Caldecott Honor Book much better than this year's winner. The illustrations give it the feel of a graphic novel, but the simple sentences make the story easy to read for beginners. A boy (I thought it was a girl until the end of the book) wants one of his family members to play a game with him, but everyone is too busy. However, on this hot summer night the lights go out all over the city, which means his family can't do all the things they'd been doing, things which required electricity. The boy persuades them to gather around the kitchen table with candles for light to play his game. Suddenly the lights come back on. Will everyone now abandon the game? I like the idea that you don't need to have electricity to have fun. We're so dependent on power for our games and TV and computers that we've forgotten about all the games and books and other activities that don't need power to enjoy. The book also sends a message about spending time together as a family. Great book--highly recommended!

  • Tatiana
    2019-02-14 00:40

    It was a normal summer night in the city. Hot, noisy, with everyone doing their own thing. But then, the lights go out and everything changes: families, neighbors, the whole city comes together. Forced to unplug, people turn to each other, playing board games, and even climbing up to the roof to see nature's natural lights--the stars. When the lights come back on, things go back to normal, but not everyone likes normal. In the classroom, I would use this as a concept book: things that scare us, what to do when the lights go out, why it's good to put the video games away sometimes. The illustrations are a true highlight, and I would expect nothing less from a Caldecott Honor Book. The format is interesting as well. I have a few second graders who are hooked on the idea of graphic novels, and the illustrations borrow some of those elements, like captions and boxed-in pictures.

  • Clare Cannon
    2019-02-07 03:44

    A brilliant book! The illustrations are contemporary and fun, so it's a surprise to find such simple but powerful wisdom at the heart of this story.Everyone is too absorbed in their own things to play a board game with a little girl who's looking for company. But then there's a blackout, and everything buzzing and shining just stops, and it is quiet and dark. And suddenly people take notice of those around them, their family, neighbours and friends. They eat free ice cream and sing and play the guitar, and rediscover the joy of spending time with others.As powerful for adults as for the children who read it.Reviewed for

  • Jim Erekson
    2019-02-21 03:30

    Almost fooled me! The book's well-drawn graphic novel style, spare pacing, and enchanting representation of a family in a power outage just about masked the story's attempt to teach us all a lesson. Once more, the fact that I agree with the message doesn't help. I don't think the sermon is in general a genre of literature. And this is the second (or third) book in two weeks to try to tell me to just turn off the lights and enjoy life without gadgets.

  • Michael
    2019-01-25 00:42

    This story has beautiful artwork and pages, a diverse cast, a fun storyline, and a heartfelt and worthwhile message to convey. It's almost 5 stars for me, but I tend to reserve that rating for books that give me a deeper emotional experience. I liked the combination of intimate dark spaces and infinite vast sky and city, and the moral of the story was touching; but it was more entertaining than emotionally moving.

  • Laura
    2019-02-13 07:29

    It’s amazing how one event, chance, or occurrence can bring everyone together. This story about finding fun and wonder in the dark will pull readers of all ages right in with big, beautiful, clear, vibrant pictures.Turn of the lights! You might be surprised by what you find in the dark. :)1/29/12

  • Brenda
    2019-01-25 05:34

    Beautiful drawings but the story lacked something...

  • Lauren Paravate
    2019-01-31 05:46

    Summary: The story “Blackout” follows a young girl in the busy city experiencing her first blackout. Once all the lights go out and everyone isn’t busy with their everyday lives the family realizes how important it is to take time for each other. They go up to the roof and stare at the stars together and realize that they don’t need power to have time together that is meaningful.Evaluation: I really liked the storyline of “Blackout” and how important it is to take time away from the Internet and everything else that consumes our time to spend it with the people we care about. The story was very relatable and it will reach all readers in that way.Teaching Idea: A way to incorporate this into teaching would be talking to kids about technology and how it takes up so much of our time. After this I would remind the students how important it is to take time each day where we spend it with the people that we care about and away from technology. We would then do a writing activity where students could talk about things they like to do other than play video games and draw a picture with it.

  • Briana
    2019-02-07 05:20

    Tasteful artwork takes readers from a kid where everyone is too busy to play with, to a blackout where people have time to spend together suddenly. Cool premise and overarching concept, but felt like it stopped short.

  • Sean
    2019-01-29 00:24

    A fun one to read w/my little one. Alas, we had to return it to the library.

  • Kirsten Whisler
    2019-02-11 01:50

    The illustrations were so amazing and made you want to keep turning the pages. The actual story line addressed the issues that most families tend to have in our society. Everyone is always too busy to slow down and spend time together. It made you appreciate the things you take for granted in our lives.

  • Bhebden Hebden
    2019-02-16 00:35

    The picture book Blackout, by John Ricco, was recommended by my school LMC director and is a Caldecott honor book, 2012 and Monarch Award nominee book, 2013. The graphic novel styled pages depict the activities of a busy family of four as they engage in their own pursuits within their city duplex on a sizzling hot summer’s evening. With Mom concentrating on the computer, Dad hastily preparing dinner, Sister glued to the phone, and Brother ready to play a board game with no other family members willing to interrupt their pursuits: Brother disappointedly settles into watching television with the family cat. Without warning, the unexpected occurs…a citywide power outage. Stunned into quietness and darkness, the family huddles around candles and flashlights…“until it was too hot and sticky to sit inside.” The family climbs the stairs to the rooftop where they discover the glistening evening stars and other people sharing in an impromptu “block party in the sky.” Hearing noises from below, the family descends to the streets where they encounter another party of carefree goings-on. The family embraces this unique opportunity by strolling the streets and savoring music with the locals, enjoying ice cream from street vendors, and embracing carefree candle lit conversations. Without warning, the electricity is restored and life once again resumes its normal cadence …“but not everyone likes normal.” The family of four decides to play a board game at the kitchen table under the glow of a single candle, rekindling their sense of family togetherness.Text is limited throughout this picture book with colorful illustrations conveying light sources and activity while hues of gray, black, yellow and blue depict the darkness and stark contrast of a busy electrified world. Ricco pulls the reader in two directions with his artistic expressions of a hectic modern day family lifestyle and a contrasting relaxed family relishing simple pleasures of togetherness.For instructional purposes, Blackout is the perfect book for addressing the anxiety and fears children may feel during power outages and blackouts. Discussions about family time without electronics could support a lead-up to a writing prompt about “an evening without electronics”. Blackout is also an ideal book for introducing a study of constellations and stars . Recommended for ages 4 - 10.

  • Gabriela Alvarez
    2019-02-01 04:43

    Blackout by John Rocco is a recommendation from the Association for Library Service to Children and is a Caldecott Honor book.This book is recommended for ages 4-8It all started one hot summer night where everyone was busy in this lively city! The streets were filled with lights and noise, sounds of cars beeping and music echoing through the streets. Even the inside of the lighted apartments seemed to be filled with people who were occupied and busy, except for one young bored girl who just wanted some attention from her family.Everyone was too busy either cooking, working on the computer, or talking on the phone. No one had time to play with her. All she had left was her cat to watch her play video games alone, until SUDDENLY all lights went out! Nothing worked at all, and the only light they had was the light from their flashlights and the stars that shined in the sky. That's when the real party started! People talked, went outside and enjoyed the night with the company of others. Now, no one was busy at all, and even when the lights did go back on, this little girl and her family realized that there's nothing wrong with simply having some time with lights out, and really enjoying each other's company.I really enjoyed this story, especially because now a days people are so busy with technology, that they hardly have any time to spend or talk with their family. I think this book is also good for adults because it makes you reflect how sometimes our busy lives can make us miss opportunities to spend quality time with those around us. John Rocco did a fascinating job with his engaging illustrations, and really helped give more meaning to the text. The illustrations gave the text more feeling and emotion, making the story fun. I also liked that he used the style of a graphic novel and used simple text.I think this is a good book to teach that sometimes we need to unplug from technology, and think about other ways we can engage with others. I think there are many children who can also relate to this girl who is surrounded with people who are just sometimes too busy. I would definitely recommend this book.

  • L12_Anke
    2019-01-26 02:47

    Written and illustrated by John Rocco, BLACKOUT (2012 Caldecott Honor Book) is a beautiful picture book with very few words, yet its message says so much. Like many families, this one is very, very busy. Mom is on the computer, Dad is cooking dinner and the big sister shouts with her angry voice “Get Out!” when the younger brother simply wants to sit down with someone and play a board game. They live in the city on the second floor of a brownstone and it’s a hot, sticky summer night when pop! the lights suddenly go out….and that’s when living finally happens for this family. They explore the rooftop of their building where neighbors are having a “block party in the sky.” Back down on the street the local ice cream parlor is scooping out free ice cream and children are splashing around in the fire hydrant's cool bursts of water. The family is together, smiling and happy as they sit down on the front steps of their building when zip! the lights come back on. Things resume as usual, but only for a moment, because the little brother turns the lights off and it’s a blackout, once again. The message is crystal clear, to slow down, enjoy each other and “unplug” life’s hectic demands once in a while. On the last page the family is sitting down together in the kitchen and finally playing the board candlelight.John Rocco, known for his cover artwork of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, creates a comic book style story in BLACKOUT, appealing to both its younger audience who do not need to read the words to comprehend it and the older students who enjoy reading comics. Scholastic gives this book an interest level of PreK through Grade 2 and a Grade Level Equivalent of 1.1. The first few pages use white space around the border and between the pictures and when the lights go out the book is saturated with color, some pages include black borders and each page takes us into the cozy summer night with his use of dark and light blues, golden yellows and shades of gray. And when you look closely at Rocco’s illustrations, the diverse urban population is portrayed realistically. (even the younger brother has shoulder-length hair and his gender is not evident until the end of the story when the dad addresses him with “Good idea buddy!” after he turns the lights off when the power goes back on.)This would be an ideal read-aloud for students in pre-school through third grade. Children would definitely get excited to share their own stories of their “blackouts.” As a writing activity, the students can write (or illustrate) their own version of what they would do if they experienced a blackout on a hot summer’s night.

  • David
    2019-01-23 03:24

    Blackout by John Rocco follows a city family who has its evening activities interrupted by a blackout. His sister and parents are too busy to play a board game with a lonely child, so it's time to play a video game on a hot summer night. Suddenly a blackout occurs. The family makes shadow animals and plays a board game until it's so hot they head up to the roof to discover the starlight, and neighbors having a block party. They also hear noise from the street, so they head down to find a party there too, with kids playing in water from the fire hydrant and the store next door giving out free ice cream. When the lights come back on, everyone returns to their normal, separate activities, until the child flips off the light switch and the family returns to playing their board game by flashlight.The text features a lot of word repetition. The fonts vary in size and the lettering is all in capitals.The illustrations take this story to the next level. There is a strong graphic novel look, with some panels and some text bubbles. The graphic novel portrayal of some characters should engage many readers.The design really appeals to me. The opening shots, and subsequent views of figures in windows reminds me of the classic movie Rear Window. Different perspectives are used very effectively. I enjoyed the way the stars were drawn. The use of flashlights to create shadows was brilliant. I love the view of the apartments with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background, and the three panels showing all the lights going out. The two page spreads of the block party on the roof and the party on the street are excellent. The many views of the cat make me smile, including the last page where it swipes at THE END.I feel this very effectively portrays a blackout. It also delivers the message of the need to unplug and reconnect with each other without being too preachy. The multicultural family and what may be a gay couple on the street add diversity.Two quibbles: I couldn't figure out if the child was a boy or a girl until the man referred to him as "buddy." The man (father) has an extremely elongated face and big teeth which I found alternately very interesting and/or a bit creepyFor ages 4 to 7, blackout, electricity, family, city, diversity, and fans of John Rocco.

  • L13F_Jana Wilkening
    2019-02-01 02:24

    Before you read this amazing book, check out this awesome book trailer for the inspiration behind Blackout: August 2003, a blackout in New York City caused 14 million people to lose power. This picture book follows one young girl and her family as they experience that blackout. All of a sudden, the “normalcy” of phones, computers, video games, stoves, etc… are gone. Instead, the family escapes the heat of the apartment and enjoys an evening under the stars with neighbors on the rooftop. Instead of their separate lives of busyness and technology, they enjoy time together as a family. When the lights go back on, the family learns that maybe they don’t need all that technology after all.The illustrations in this 2012 Caldecott Honor book are striking! The illustrations vary between color and black and white. He does an amazing job of showing light and illumination from the stars, candles, flashlights, etc… Some of the images are full page illustrations, while other pages include several panels of illustrations. The pictures are so incredible and have a “graphic novel” feel to them. In some ways they reminded me of a Pixar film. The illustrations are the greatest strength of this story, although the plot is also fantastic.I would use this book in grades K-8. I think in younger grades it is a great tool for discussing “family time” and how to make the best out of what could be a scary situation. With older students, it is a wonderful tool to use for discussing technology and its central role in our lives. With my middle school students, I would pair it with the telecast script of “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” and “It’s a Book!” The story takes place in an urban setting and there are many “multicultural” images of characters, although the exact race/culture of characters is not always completely clear. That seems almost more realistic to me. In my neighborhood in the city, I loved the “melting pot” of races and cultures. Our cities are a beautiful blend of families, races, cultures, etc… where exact categories are not always known. I thought this book captured that beautifully.

  • Dolly
    2019-02-09 04:20

    This is a fun story that encourages us to unplug from our busy, busy lives and just spend time together. It's a worthy message in an all-too busy world. It reminds me of my recent travels - I travel somewhat frequently and whenever I do, I never turn on the television. If I'm overseas, I don't have my fancy-schmancy smart phone with me. And more often than not, I don't even try to connect my computer to the wi-fi (if it is even available.) I certainly don't spend as much time on sites like Goodreads (which has become a bit of an obsession, I must admit.) Unfortunately, I'm not with my family either. So when I get home I try to recreate a bit of that experience, keeping the television off (if my hubby will let me) and spending as much time together as possible. But even I will get a bit absorbed in technology, cooking, paying bills, logging books and reviews on Goodreads, managing my library checkouts and holds online, etc. Books like this remind us to just turn it all off and go play a game together. I think we will plan to do that tonight, after dinner.With a sparse narrative and terrific illustrations (in a format similar to a graphic novel), this book is a joy to read. The New York City setting and multicultural family and neighbors also added a touch of reality to the tale. And I loved that the nighttime sky with no lights reminds me of Van Gogh's famous painting, Starry Night. We really enjoyed reading it together.This book was selected as one of the books for the September 2017- Caldecott Honors 2008-2012 discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.

  • Julia Drescher
    2019-02-19 01:30

    Reading this book and focusing on the contemporary realistic fiction genre as opposed to looking at the text as a picture book made me see the book with a unique purpose. The book is extremely realistic and something I believe many children, and adults, can relate to. We are now so often consumed by tasks that we forget to take a step back and enjoy the company of others. The book begins with four individuals under the same roof, part of the same family, all engaging in different tasks. Watching the TV, using the computer, cooking in the kitchen. These are all "normal" every day tasks that we engage in, yet the book reminds us that sometimes they take over our lives.The child wants to play, but everyone in the house is too busy. Not until the lights go out do they all appreciate each other's company. They enjoy it so much, that when the power is restored they continue to play together as a family.The illustrations are beautifully done; they bring life to the text. Even without power, we can see the light from the night illuminate the house and the city.This book shows the importance of spending time with those close to you, and appreciating that time. I love that this book is so realistic and one that kids can pick up and understand, even on just a basic level at first.I would recommend this book for a read aloud with kindergarteners and first graders. It is also one that they could look through independently, but reading it aloud would lend itself to discussion. I think it could be used with older students too and be used to discuss how technology is taking over and its impact on us and our families.