book review

Snow Festival Day 1: The Blizzard by John Rocco

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One of the things I love most about winter is SNOW. So I’ve decided to dedicate an entire week of posts to our favorite snow books and the things we can do with them. Our first book choice for this wonderful week of snow is “Blizzard” by.

blizzard cover

How many times have we been released from school early because it started snowing ? I remember those days and see my own children’s excitement when that happens. Blizzard is a true life account of one such day and what followed to author John Rocco.

It was the infamous blizzard of 1978. On Monday is started to snow and as the wind whipped up school was released early. By the time John and his sister had reached home the snow was already covering their boots. By morning they couldn’t even open the front door.

On Tuesday they climbed out the window and had themselves a real “snow day” and went sledding. Sitting by the fire they sat drinking hot chocolate.

On Wednesday they climbed out the same window and dug snow tunnels making secret rooms under the snow.

By Thursday the snow plows still hadn’t come and their food started to run out. Young John Rocco was sure they wouldn’t be able to survive much longer on hot cocoa made with water.

On Friday, John consults his Arctic Survival Guide and realizes that he can take action. He had memorized the survival guide and knew what equipment he needed to be able to get to the store and save his family. Snowshoes made of tennis rackets would do just the trick.

blizzard snowshoes

On Saturday he made a grocery list and prepared his sled to carry it all. Then he was off. A very fun pull out neighborhood map shows the route John took and the distractions he found along the way. From building a snowman with friends to climbing a lookout tree, making a snow angel, exploring an igloo, joining a snowball fight, to checking in with neighbors and even getting lost.

At last he reached the store. He was tired. He was hungry and chilled to the bone but he couldn’t think of himself at a time like this, he had to rescue his family and the neighborhood from the deep clutches of the blizzard of 78.

On his way home he dropped off the groceries to the various neighbors. All were so grateful for John’s help.

blizzard delivery

Over hot chocolate made with milk, John shared the tale of his perilous journey to the grocery store.

The next day Sunday, snow plows finally arrived and John and his family had survived the blizzard of 1978.

This book is on our favorite book of 2014 list. Not only is John an amazing storyteller, bringing simple everyday life activities to a hero’s journey of a storybook, but he is a brilliant artist and illustrated the book as well. The book is laid out very cleverly with a fold out map. His use of the days of the week written in different clever ways. He is creative in his approach to capturing the colors of snow. In all we felt a part of his blizzard and wished we could have been there right there with him. This is a must read !!! Don’t miss this one.



Somethings To Do:

Hot Chocolate

I have one of the best recipes for hot chocolate. It will have you wanting more and even willing to walk to the store in a blizzard to get the supplies.

hot chocolate


  • 2-1/2 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A gallon of milk, or enough for all participants

Step 1 : Making the Base

  1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate in the water, stirring constantly until it is smooth.
  2. Add the salt and sugar, continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Let the chocolate mixture cool completely while you prepare the whipped cream. This chocolate base will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Step 2: Whipping the Cream

  1. Place a metal bowl and the beaters of a hand mixer in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from freezer and whip the cream together with the vanilla extract.
  3. Gently stir in the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. Place the chocolate cream mixture in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to chill thoroughly and allow the flavors to blend.

Step 3: How to Make the Hot Chocolate

To make the hot chocolate you will need a gallon of milk and the refrigerated chocolate cream.

  1. In each cup place a large spoonful of the chocolate cream mixture.
  2. Slowly heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk so it won’t scald.
  3. Pour hot milk into each cup and stir well. Sprinkle with freshly grated cinnamon.

(This recipe comes from the book The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Valarie Budayr and Roscoe Welply)

Snow Angels

1. Pick a spot.

2. Fresh powder works best—make a snow angel right after a storm, when the snow is untouched.

3. Fall backward.

4. Move your arms and legs.

5. Press your head.
6. Get up.

How to Make Snow Shoes Out of Tennis Rackets

Take two tennis rackets. Using thin rope or webbing attach your shoe to the toe and heal using webbing or a sturdy thin rope.

snow shoes out of tennis rackets

Sledding Games

Have two distinct lines going down a snow hill. Starting off at the same time, see who gets to the bottom of the hill first.

Snowball Fight Rules

To make sure your snow ball fights are safe and fair be sure to establish a “safety word” which will stop the game if anyone should be hurt or have their feelings hurt. Snowballs can only be made with snow. Adding anything to a snowball is dangerous. Set boundaries as to where the snow ball fight can take place. Set a time limit and make sure everyone plays fair.

Have a fun throwing snowballs !!

Snow Forts

Need some ideas on how to build a snow fort ? Have a look here and here.

blizzard snow fort

 BIG SALE !!! This Week Only !!

Year in the Secret Garden


A Year in the Secret Garden (inspired by the classic children’s book Secret Garden) is on a wonderful sale until December 31st. Books always make an excellent gift for anyone in your life and it’s not too late to get your copy of A Year in the Secret Garden book for the special holiday price of $15.00 (ends December 31st) if you use the secret code word secret garden at checkout.

This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. There’s also a link to a free download website for all of the wonderful paper toys that Marilyn Scott-Waters has created.Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book. Get your copy here.

4 thoughts on “Snow Festival Day 1: The Blizzard by John Rocco

  1. I love pretty much anything John Rocco gets his hands on 🙂 I was going to purchase this wonderful book without even having read it, then got really lucky and won it through Mr. Schu at Watch.Connect.Read. And this hot chocolate recipe sounds dangerously addictive! lol Also, made for me by a woman from South America, adding cinnamon gives an amazing flavor to hot chocolate, too 😀 Thanks, Valarie!

  2. This hot chocolate recipe sounds absolutely amazing. We are definitely going to be trying it very very soon!

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