Hurricane – John Rocco


            Hurricane – John Rocco, Little Brown and Company, 2021. 9780759554931

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

What did you like about the book? John Rocco revisits his own childhood in the creation of Hurricane.  A little boy goes to his dock every day (“his” dock as he is the only one who uses it) where he swims, tries to catch crabs and watches the fish in the water.  Returning home he finds his Dad nailing boards to the house windows in preparation for a hurricane.  “That night the wind roars and rumbles, like the sound of a thousand waves pounding the shoreline.” The two-page illustration here at night with the wind blasting rain everywhere, submerging cars, breaking trees is really powerful.

In the morning, the boy gets his gear and goes out for another day at the dock – when he sees the destruction.  Another two-page spread shows the boy standing small and alone amid the wreckage.  His dock, too, is demolished.  He asks his neighbors for help in rebuilding the dock but they are all busy rebuilding their homes – so he helps them all day.  The boy attempts to rebuild the dock himself until all the neighbors whom he helped, come to help him.

The illustrations, done in pencil, watercolor and digital color, bring the story to life.  Anyone familiar with Rocco’s amazing expertise in creating illustrations (Blizzard, Blackout) that are more like paintings will be very pleased.  Inside front cover provides a diagram of a hurricane and how it builds step by step.  Inside the back cover is an illustration of a dock showing just how it is put together and how it works.

Anything you did not like about the book?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Given the climate disaster the world is presently trapped in, this story is more than timely.  In a non-scary format it illustrates to children what occurs during a hurricane.  And readers like myself who just love John Rocco’s work will be delighted with this new offering.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and K-1 libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Editor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: September 1, 2021

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