I don't know about you, but our fall has been pretty much perfect: clear, sunny days, comfortable temperatures, and beautiful colors. (This is the first fall since we moved into our house, and I am loving how the big bush in front (the one Mike threatened to cut down) burst forth in fiery red brilliance a couple of weeks ago.)
With the weather cooperating so nicely, it seems a little wrong to talk about a book called Blizzard, but . . . it's coming, folks. And from what I've heard, this winter is going to be a doozy.
Blizzard is based on actual events from the author's childhood during the blizzard of 1978. On a Monday afternoon the snow started to fall, and when it finally stopped, there was forty inches of it on the ground. At first, it was fun: the kids went outside and played in the deep drifts and then came back inside to hunker down with a mug of hot chocolate. But after a few days, the novelty wore off and everyone started to worry about when the snowplows would finally clear the roads so they could get to the grocery store for food. John decided to stop waiting and do something about it. He strapped two tennis rackets to his feet, took up his sled, and trudged the long way to the store. And finally, almost a week later, the snowplows arrived and dug out the town
I liked John Rocco's popular Blackout (it won a Caldecott Honor in 2012), but I loved Blizzard.
Part of it was nostalgia. I grew up in northeastern Colorado (out on the plains), and the snow doesn't know how to fall straight down there--only sideways. I can still remember making our own trek through the storm to get to the grocery store. (In our case, I don't think the blizzard had gone on long enough to make us worried about running out of food, but there was something in particular we wanted (probably hot chocolate) and the roads were not driveable, so we bundled up and walked.)
I remember another time when the blizzard came on a Sunday, so we couldn't go to church. Instead, we put on our snow clothes and walked a block away to our adopted grandma's house. I can still remember what it felt like to push against the whipping snow and what a contrast it was to enter her warm, cozy house and feel the plush (peach) carpet under our numb toes.
But you don't have to have survived your own blizzard to enjoy this book. The illustrations are enough to make you feel like you're experiencing it right along with John Rocco and his family: from the stop sign nearly covered in snow (along with the complementary words, ". . . and I thought it would never stop") to the fold-out page of his route to the store to the gorgeous sunset on his return trip home.
My kids loved it too. For them, it was partly the novelty since I don't know that they've ever seen a real blizzard. (Snow, yes. Blizzards, no.) Plus, reading this in October made them super duper excited for the coming change in the weather. (Last week, I found them bundled up in all their winter gear even though it was 75 degrees outside. Silly boys.)
So for now, go out and enjoy the last beautiful days of autumn. And then, when the snow and wind and the cold comes, comfort yourself with this delightful book.
P.S. For more snowy reads, check out this post or this one.
P.S. Many thanks to Disney-Hyperion for a review copy of this book. All opinions (and blizzard memories) are my own!