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Review of Blizzard

rocco_blizzardBlizzard
by John Rocco; illus. by the author
Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp.
11/14    978-1-4231-7865-1    $17.99

Rocco presents a story of New England’s blizzard of 1978, based on his own childhood experience. The same warm family feeling that permeates his Caldecott Honor book Blackout is here, but this time he sticks to a boy’s-eye view of the storm. When it becomes clear that the plows aren’t coming anytime soon, ten-year-old John and his sister climb out of a first-floor window (the drifting snow has blocked their front door) to explore the snowy world. At first it’s all sleds and snow tunnels and hot cocoa, but by the end of the week his family’s food supply has run low and our hero springs into action. Inspired by his trusty Arctic Survival book, John fashions snowshoes out of tennis rackets and plans his circuitous route to the store, a mile away. Rocco’s digitally colored watercolor and pencil illustrations are suffused with blues and pinks and of course white, bringing that wintry feeling to the fore. Little details — a poster of Mount Everest, penguin-decorated lamps, days of the week incorporated somewhere into the illustrations to mark the passage of time — amusingly extend the story. A double gatefold shows the extent of the detours John takes to gather grocery orders from his housebound neighbors and make his way to the store. Readers in all climates will be intrigued by this true story of extreme weather and an intrepid kid saving the day. Think twice before making fun of folks who stock up on supplies when the slightest snowflake is predicted.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Robin Smith About Robin Smith

Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.

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