Blackout is a book about how sometimes we only find time for “unimportant” things when life leaves us no other choice. (I am pretty much ready for life to do this to me right now. I could use a little forced “unimportant” time. I have a stack of books I’d read for hours and I’d swing by our local ice cream place to see if they were giving away all of their stock for free). John Rocco’s art is rich and dramatic, with so many shades of dark greyish blue and silver and black that you will feel immersed in the simple tale. The illustrations are like night on the page, really luminous and cozy, and the message is simple: sometimes it takes something dramatic to reveal the magic that is possible in ordinary life.
All of the different perspectives help to make this book really captivating: the neighborhood views, the roof scene, and the illustrations inside the family’s house. You feel like you have a sense of the whole experience from the inside out. This is a book to put in your “blackout box” along with a flashlight, your favourite board game, and a big bar of chocolate.
A whole bunch of years ago there was a big blackout in Toronto. I think everyone who lived here at the time remembers where they were. My then boyfriend was in the middle of tiling our condo. At the very moment he flicked on the tile-saw-thingy, the power went off. We peeked out in the hall and saw that the whole floor was out. Immediately we were sure that we’d messed up the power in the whole building. Whoops. Eventually we realized that it wasn’t us. It was much, much bigger than us. I was working in a pastry kitchen at the time and I just remember having to go into work and my boss was so foul because we were trying to save all of the stuff that was in the freezers, but we ended up having to pitch so many croissants and danish that he was practically frothing at the mouth. He was generally a crusty individual, but the blackout forced him to a whole new level of misery. So I can’t say that I have particularly fond blackout memories. I’d much rather try out Rocco’s version of the experience, with a barbeque and stargazing on the roof and then board games by candlelight.
Here’s the trailer, which I think really captures the spirit of the text:
A beauty indeed. Not to be missed.
Blackout is published by Disney Hyperion Books.