Toddler Book Club Activity–Blackout, By John Rocco

“Sometimes, when the lights go out, it’s a good thing.  It’s magical”

From “Blackout”

Blackout, by John Rocco is a beautifully illustrated Caldecott Honor Book.   There are very few words, but the captivating illustrations will draw children in and provide a great opportunity to make connections, build comprehension, and foster creativity through discussion.


There are several examples throughout the story of shadows and shadow puppets, so an activity that allows children to construct and play with shadow puppets is a perfect complement!


  • popsicle sticks
  • pre-cut shapes made from card stock or ( for older kids) card stock for the kids to draw and cut out their own shapes
  • Elmer’s glue or double-sided tape ( I prefer the tape )
  • a strong light source
  • a dark room with bare wall or sheet to project puppets on

Most of the kids in our group are quite young, so I kept it really simple and bought pre-cut shapes.  It happened to be right before Halloween, so I chose a packet with pumpkins, witches, ghosts, and the like at Michael’s .  Of course, any shapes will do.


  • After reading and discussing story, go back to pages in the book that show the shadows and shadow puppets and explain that the kids will get to make their own puppets.
  • It’s good to have one pre-made to use as a model.
  • Demonstrate to parents and kids how to make.  Simply affix the card stock shape to the end of the popsicle stick with the glue or tape.
  • Demonstrate how to use the puppet with the light source to make a shadow puppet.
  • Have fun!
  • Remember, keep it simple with the little ones!

Check out my post on tips for starting your own Toddler Book Club here.

You don’t have to live in Austin to like  Kid Culture Austin.  Many of my posts I share are about cool ideas and activities to do at home with young children.

Follow my blog and get all my latest posts!

-Jennifer Rustgi, Kid Culture Austin


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Categories: Kid Culture Toddler Book Club


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