Snow Trail Snow Tale: Blizzard by John Rocca
THE FIRST FLAKE FELL BEFORE RECESS.
From his desk, a boy spots the first flake through his school's tall windows. The excitement is palpable in the classroom, as the students hope that this will be the first big snow of the winter. Yea!
SCHOOL CLOSED EARLY.
The boy and his sister trudge home in the snow, already high up on their boots. By the next morning the snow is too deep for them to open their front door.
SO WE WENT OUT THE WINDOW!
The kids play in the snow until they are too tired and wet to have fun anymore, and they resort to cocoa and camping out before the stove. The boy bones up on blizzard lore, reading Arctic Survival.
As more snow days go by, the children begin to tire of snow play and the family begins to run out of their favorite foods. Without milk, their cocoa is not the same, and their snacks are down to raisins dug out of the back of the pantry.
Snowbound for six days, the boy decides that only a certified survivalist like himself is up to the task of resupplying the family larder. And... there is one more thing...
HE WAS THE ONLY ONE LIGHT ENOUGH TO WALK ON THE SNOW.
He suits up, fashions tennis rackets into snowshoes, and with a list of necessities (peanut butter, coffee!) and sled in tow, heads out to the store, stopping by the neighbors to see if they need anything.
It's a post-blizzard scene outside as the boy plods through the snow-obliterated streets. He is a Arctic explorer, stopping to make a snow angel, checking out an igloo some kids have built, getting into their snowball fight, and breaking a trail toward the store, which he is happy to find OPEN.
He's a celebrated returning hero when he drops off supplies at the neighbor's house and when he stomps into his own yard, his dog barks out a fanfare:WOOOFFF!
There's milk for the cocoa, coffee for his parents, and the next day brings a loud but welcome sound in the snow-deadened landscape.
It's civilization at last for the snow-weary family in Caldecott artist John Rocco's personal memoir of the blizzard of 1978, in his latest, Blizzard (Hyperion Books, 2014). Telling the story primarily through his art, Rocco makes good use of a palette of wintry whites and hues of blue, providing a delightful fisheye lens view of the town's snowbound landscape on a four-page foldout painting. In Rocco's impressive illustrations, it's a child's dream of the biggest blizzard ever, with snow fun and seven days off from school to boot. Special touches, such as the day of the week shown cleverly on each page--Monday in careful cursive on the class blackboard, Tuesday written in the snow by squirrel tracks, Thursday spelled out in spilled raisins from the box---add touches of humor throughout. As Kirkus says "The Caldecott honoree's pencil, watercolor and digital paint illustrations are reminiscent of Steven Kellogg in their light and line and detail, and readers will pore over the pages as they vicariously live through a blizzard,"