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Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
Blackout by John Rocco
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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (audio) by E.L. Konigsburg
Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 19 by Hiromu Arakawa
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Sweet Revenge (audio) by Diane Mott Davidson
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Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney
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Blackout: 12/21/12

cover art

Blackout by John Rocco is about a boy who wants to spend some quality time with his parents but doesn't get the chance until the lights go out in the city. When things go black and he can no longer play his video games, his parents are also unable to follow their nightly routine. So they grab some flash lights and head up to the roof to see the stars — something not usually possible in big cities because of light pollution.

The story takes a similar premise as Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek — an unusual night time event bringing a community together. In the case of Under the Night Sky, it's a rare display of the aurora borealis, and here it's the more humble night sky, something that inner city children might not normally see if they don't have a chance to leave the city.

I mostly know Rocco's work through his illustrations of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Here he uses saturated colors, simple shapes and strong lines to create an urban landscape and a stunning night sky. As the story is so basic, chronicling the events of a blackout and how it changed a family for the better, the strength of the book is in the illustrations. They though, as lovely as they are, leave me wanting more from the story.

Three stars

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