The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (Graphic Novel Mini Review)

Pig’s father saved the valley from the fog of darkness. His dam is an amazing feat of engineering, tall enough to hold back the waves of fog and outfitted with a huge windmill that blows it back from the bucolic city. Now that his father has passed, it is Pig’s job to take care of the structure. Mind the carpentry, fix the valves, and most of all, make sure the fan is wound every 12 hours. Yet, there is a shift in the darkness, almost as if a tide is rising. And wave after wave gets bigger and bigger, until the dam cracks. Pig, his friend Fox, and his frenemy Hippo start on a journey to find the cause of the mystery.

Adapted from an Oscar-nominated short, this novel is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever read. The best indication of the artists’ talents lie in their use of light. Obviously, a key symbol in the plot, it provides so much texture and meaning to Pig’s thoughts, memories, and emotions. I stopped myself several times and spent some time admiring the character’s points of view, their anticipation and hesitation in the face of the fog.

Even though this book may be written for upper-grade elementary age, I believe it can be enjoyed by all ages. Anyone with an eye for art and an appreciation of a good story. The second book was released in July, and a third will be out next year.

Highly recommended.

This is a link to the trailer of the film: The Dam Keeper Trailer

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