by John Rocco

Overview - Blizzard is based on John Rocco's childhood experience during the now infamous Blizzard of 1978, which brought fifty-three inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island. Told with a brief text and dynamic illustrations, t he book opens with a boy's excitement upon seeing the first snowflake fall outside his classroom window.  Read more...

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More About Blizzard by John Rocco
Blizzard is based on John Rocco's childhood experience during the now infamous Blizzard of 1978, which brought fifty-three inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island. Told with a brief text and dynamic illustrations, the book opens with a boy's excitement upon seeing the first snowflake fall outside his classroom window. It ends with the neighborhood's immense relief upon seeing the first snowplow break through on their street. In between the boy watches his familiar landscape transform into something alien, and readers watch him transform into a hero who puts the needs of others first. John uses an increasing amount of white space in his playful images, which include a gatefold spread of the boy's expedition to the store. This book about the wonder of a winter storm is as delicious as a mug of hot cocoa by the fire on a snowy day.
Praise for Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom

"With a light, humorous touch, Rocco reveals that sometimes the Kryptonite is all in your head."
--Publishers Weekly

"Bold, colorful pen-and-ink illustrations burst with power from each spread in comic-book style. This story will make a feel-good impression on budding comic book/superhero fans."
--School Library Journal

Praise for Blackout

"The plot line, conveyed with just a few sentences, is simple enough, but the dramatic illustrations illuminate the story...Not all young readers will have experienced a blackout, but this engaging snapshot could easily have them wishing for one."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The colorful pictures work beautifully with the book's design. Rocco uses comic-strip panels and a brief text to convey the atmosphere of a lively and almost magical urban landscape. Great bedtime reading for a soft summer night."
--School Library Journal (starred review)
2012 Caldecott Honor BookNew York Times Notable BookWall Street Journal Best Book of the YearPublisher's Weekly Best Book of the YearSchool Library Journal Best Book of the YearKirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
Praise for Fu Finds the Way

"Rocco's story flows smoothly and his illustrations are rich and appealing..."
--Kirkus Reviews

  • ISBN-13: 9781423178651
  • ISBN-10: 1423178653
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 40
  • Reading Level: Ages 4-7
  • Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Boys & Men
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Nature & the Natural World - General
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Values & Virtues

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-09-01
  • Reviewer: Staff

Caldecott Honoree Rocco (Blackout) recalls a journey he took as a boy during the blizzard of 1978, when he lived in a small Rhode Island town. His deft compositions use expanses of white page to convey snowdrifts and winter sky. The snow is so deep that the front door won’t open, and John and his sister have to leave through the window. In another couple of days, when food supplies dwindle, “I realized it was up to me to take action.... I was the only one who knew what equipment was required.” Making snowshoes out of tennis rackets, young John sets off for the grocery store. An epic gatefold spread shows his path through the neighborhood, with distractions duly noted (“Made an angel”; “Joined a snowball fight”). The store owners greet him kindly, and he drags his grocery-laden sled home in triumph, distributing food to his neighbors and providing for his family. A nostalgic air of Americana permeates the story, and John’s eagerness to be a hero and his display of Yankee ingenuity offer plenty of satisfaction. Ages 3–5. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (Oct.)

BookPage Reviews

First sign of flurries

Snow holds a special sway over the imagination. Daredevil sledding sessions, snowball brawls, warm cups of cocoa—snow days are coming soon, so now's the time to get ready!

Caldecott Honor winner John Rocco shares an epic incident from his childhood in Blizzard, an account of the 1978 storm that dropped 40 inches of snow on the Northeast. While the young narrator is initially thrilled by the weather (no school!), he finds that snow, in excess, does not necessarily equal fun. The white stuff won’t support the weight of sledders, and walking through it is like wading. With stressed parents, a rapidly diminishing stock of food and no sign of snowplows, the narrator, inspired by the Artic explorers of old, sets off on an expedition to collect supplies—a major mission that proves a success. From this boyhood victory, Rocco has created an unforgettable book. Through his intriguing pencil, watercolor and digitally painted illustrations, he cleverly communicates the scale of the blizzard (a stop sign disappears into a drift), and his characters’ warm, beaming faces reflect the celebratory spirit that snow always seems to inspire.

In Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen take a fascinating look at how animals endure the shivery, dark weeks of winter. Through rollicking rhymes and breezy free verse, Sidman examines the cold-weather habits of wolves, moose, snakes, beavers, tundra swans and more. Her lines are full of fresh imagery (bees have “eyelash legs” and “tinsel wings”), and the collection as a whole unlocks the secrets of nature in ways young readers will appreciate. (Who knew that snakes hibernate in the same place every winter?) Sidebars offer intriguing survival stories and fun facts about each creature, while Allen’s digitally layered linoleum-block prints provide detailed studies of the season. A collection that’s as crisp as the first snowfall, Winter Bees is the perfect way to pass a chilly afternoon.

In her magical new book, Outside, Deirdre Gill celebrates the mind-expanding nature of snow and the ways it can lend new dimension to the everyday world. A restless boy watches through a window as white flakes pile up outside. After exhausting all of his indoor options (like pestering his brother), he leaves the house and heads into the woods, where the majestic, snow-coated trees provide a change of perspective. Left to his own devices, he rolls up a frosty white ball that transforms into—among other thrilling things—a giant snowman. When a winged dragon enters the mix, the boy enjoys a ride through the sky. Gill’s expert oil-on-paper illustrations create a telling contrast between the house’s stuffy interior and the open-ended nature of the great outdoors. Her lovely book captures the quiet mystery of the season.


This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews