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Blackout by John Rocco

Blackout by John Rocco

A young boy just wants to play a board game, going from family member to family member without any luck. But when all the distractions are gone, that game looks pretty tempting.

The power outage that affected the northeast United States and Canada in August 2003 was thankfully a peaceful one, especially in New York City. Blackout by John Rocco, revolves around how that lack of electricity affects one family who are all normally just too busy.

Phone calls, dinner, and work on the computer are all more important than a mere board game...until the lights go out Without power, what will everyone do?

John Rocco's art brings a couple of neat elements to the table. The illustrations and text mimic a comic book with multiple panels per page. Once the lights go out, all of that white space around each panel turns pitch black. This is a small but notable detail that helps to convey what has happened. Also when the lights go out, the colors disappear, too. Our family now looks like characters in a black and white film, though there is a bit of color surrounding the flashlights and candles that they use.

When the family decides that it is just too hot to stay in their apartment, they head up to the roof of their building. There we see a multitude of stars across a varying blue sky, which never happens in such a brightly lit city.

Also, there are tons of people in the street just having a good time and not even caring about the lack of power. When the lights do come back on, will our family continue to have fun with each other or go back to whatever they were working on?

Rocco's book is a fresh look at city life perservering though less than ideal conditions. Read it with the lights off and make your very own blackout!