May 29, 2015

Subscribe to SLJ

Pick of the Day: Blackout | DVD

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

Blackout. DVD. 7 min. Weston Woods. 2013. ISBN 978-0-545-57146-3. $59.95; CD, ISBN 978-0-545-57147-0: $12.95; CD with hardcover book, ISBN 978-0-545-57149-4: $29.95.
PreS–Gr 3–Where were you when the lights went out on August 14, 2003? John Rocco’s Caldecott Honor book (Hyperion, 2011) presents a worthy portrayal of that iconic night inNew York City. It’s a hot, sticky summer evening, filled with jazzy clarinet riffs and city sounds of horns and garbage trucks. “And then, the lights…went…out. All of them!” Suddenly, the busy city is dark and eerily still. Folks get out their flashlights and candles, slowly rediscover their families and their town, and have the time to notice one another. People gather on rooftops and streets, enjoying impromptu barbecues, free gelato, music, and the starlight above. Transformed, the entire city becomes one big block party. Soup2Nuts has animated the book with gleeful shadow puppetry and sweet synchronicity. Narrator Stanley Tucci gets the pauses just right, and shows his range with whispery words and raucous shouts. Best of all is David Mansfield’s original bossa nova background music, in Carlos Santana style, that catches the mood with infectious rhythms. Pre- and post-viewing activities are provided in liner notes, including excellent recommendations to compare and contrast nonfiction archival articles from a decade ago with this fictional account. The DVD can also serve as an ideal writing prompt, using “What if…” scenarios suggested in the outstanding author interview. Rocco, a talented illustrator, has created an inspirational glimpse of a community coming together in a crisis.–Lonna Pierce, MacArthur and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools,Binghamton,NY

Maker Workshop Build and field-test an educational maker program for your library with guidance from leaders in the maker movement in our 4-week online course: Maker Workshop: Create a Maker Culture at Your Library. Whether you're just getting started or already have a maker program up and running, you'll gain insights to help push your program to the next level, no matter your budget (from $0 to the sky's the limit).

The 4-week course starts on June 3rd; don't wait, learn more and register today!