Thursday, November 6, 2014

BLIZZARD by John Rocco, Book Review

Hello & Welcome to the BLIZZARD blog tour! I'm so thrilled to kick off Disney Hyperion's tour for John Rocco's newest release. Grab a cozy blanket, get a warm cup of cocoa and get ready to enjoy the BLIZZARD. 

By: Jon Rocco
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: 10.30.14
Ages: 3 & up
Rating: 5 Owlets - Loved It!
Add it to Goodreads
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review

Blizzard 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 finally break through on their street many days later. 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 cleverly uses increasing amounts of white space in his playful and nostalgic images, which include full-bleeds, comic panels, and a glorious gatefold spread of the boy's circuitous expedition to the store. 

Whether readers are all-too-familiar with blizzards or have never experienced the wonder of a winter storm, John Rocco’s BLIZZARD is as delicious as a mug of hot cocoa by the fire on a snowy day.

Rocco has created another fantastic, award worthy children's book that fans of all ages will enjoy.

A beautifully illustrated children's picture book, BLIZZARD is an autobiographical story of the 1978 blizzard that hit parts of the North East, bringing with it 53 inches of snow. Author/illustrator John Rocco drew from his own experience as a young kid during that blizzard to create a story fans old and young alike will enjoy. With what I imagine started out as fun and memorable snow day, quickly turned into one of fear and panic for some. Unlike today's technology world, back during this book's era, there were no cell phones, or internet service, making it much harder to stay connected to each other. Rocco does a brilliant job at keeping his story light and adventurous, making it easy for young readers to engage with the story.

What's a young boy to do when his family and neighbors are all snow bound, and supplies are running low, and there's no help in sight? He becomes a hero! Young John sets off to the grocery store to try and get a few things they're in need of. Escaping from his bedroom window, since the door can't open with all the snow piled up against, his trusty map in hand, and tennis rackets for snowshoes, John heads to the store. A trek that seems a little difficult at first, but thankfully he makes it, and gets all the items his family and neighbors are in need of.

I loved the illustrations in BLIZZARD. Rocco is a great story teller, and a gift illustrator. His illustrations are some of my favorite in children's literature. With Blizzard, he captured that simpler way of life during this era perfectly. He didn't leave out any details too little or too big in his illustrations. I loved looking through the book with my kids, and then reading the book with them. Like BLACKOUT, Rocco has created another fantastic, award worthy children's book that fans of all ages will enjoy.

If you're looking to curl up with a fantastic children's book on a cool afternoon, I highly recommend picking this one up! Just be sure that you're snuggled under warm blankets or near a warm fire, so you stay warm while reading it.

Check out a spread from BLIZZARD below: (click on the image to enlarge)

You can also learn more on and find John on Facebook and Twitter

About John Rocco

Rocco studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is the author of four acclaimed books for children: Wolf! Wolf!, winner of the Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book; Moonpowder, part of the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators; Fu Finds the Way, and Blackout, a New York Times Best Book of the Year and winner of a 2012 Caldecott Honor. 

Rocco also illustrated Whoopi Goldberg‘s Alice and the covers for Rick Riordan‘s multi-million copy internationally bestselling series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus. Most recently, Rocco illustrated the fantasy fairy tale, The Flint Heart, written by Katherine Paterson and her husband, John. For many years Rocco has been an art director in the entertainment industry, both in the US and abroad. 

At Dreamworks, Rocco was the pre-production art director on the top-grossing animated film Shrek. For Walt Disney Imagineering, he designed attractions at Disney’s Epcot and served as art director for DisneyQuest, a virtual reality theme park in Downtown Disney. Rocco has worked with computer graphics pioneer Robert Abel, the creator of some of the first CGI commercials and special effects, and contributed to several museum projects including Newseum in Washington D.C. and Paul Allen‘s Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.Rocco lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Aileen and their daughter, Alaya.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Blizzard Blog Tour! There are fantastic author interviews, sneak peeks at the artwork inside the book, and giveaways.

Thursday, November 6  - Mundie Kids
Friday, November 7 - Kid Lit Frenzy                                                                                     
Monday, November 10 -  The Children’s Book Review        
Tuesday, November 11 - The Kids Did It                   
Wednesday, November 12 - OC Mom Media                                
Thursday, November 13 -  As They Grow Up                             
Friday, November 14 - Curling Up With a Good Book     
Monday, November 17  - Ben Spark                                            
Tuesday, November 18 - Mr. Schu Reads                                 
Thursday, November 20 - Elizabeth Dulemba                          

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~