The Dam Keeper is a graphic novel based on an award-winning short film. The dark fog threatens to destroy the village, but the dam keeper, Pig, works hard to protect the town. But is there more going on beyond the fog?
NOTE: The book does have elements that might be considered scary to some children,
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The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo
Genre: Graphic Novel
Length: 160 pages
First Published: 2017
Life in Sunrise Valley is tranquil, but beyond its borders lies certain death. A dangerous black fog looms outside the village, but its inhabitants are kept safe by an ingenious machine known as the dam. Pig’s father built the dam and taught him how to maintain it. And then this brilliant inventor did the unthinkable: he walked into the fog and was never seen again.
Now Pig is the dam keeper. Except for his best friend, Fox, and the town bully, Hippo, few are aware of his tireless efforts. But a new threat is on the horizon—a tidal wave of black fog is descending on Sunrise Valley. Now Pig, Fox, and Hippo must face the greatest danger imaginable: the world on the other side of the dam.
My Goodreads Review
Pig and his father are the Dam Keepers who keep the city safe from the deadly black fog. Unfortunately, one-day Pig’s father disappears into the black fog, leaving Pig to take care of the city on his own. The fog is getting stronger and disaster is on the horizon. Eventually, Pig finds himself on an adventure with Fox and Hippo as they learn what secrets can be found beyond the dam.
This children’s graphic novel surprised me with its gorgeous artwork. The scenes are beautiful with strong images of light and dark. It also surprised me how creepy these illustrations and the story might be for sensitive kids. Be sure to preview this book if you want to give it to a younger or sensitive child.
If you do read it with your kids, it is a great opportunity to discuss ways that the artwork contributes to the mood in a story. You can also make predictions about the fog and Pig’s father because this is book one in a Dam Keeper trilogy.
The Dam Keeper Club Ideas
Make pigs in a blanket to eat as a snack in honor of Pig.
Eat cotton candy because of its “fog-like” texture. (It doesn’t have to be black)
Decorate half of the table with a black tablecloth and use black paper products. Decorate the other half with colorful paper products and a colorful tablecloth.
Make paper windmills to keep the fog away. You’ll need paper, a pencil, and a thumbtack.
1. What words would you use to describe the main characters: Fox, Hippo, Pig, and Van? Which character was your favorite?
2. This book has some intense and possibly creepy graphics. Would you still recommend it as a book for children?
The Dam Keeper was part of my Outschool weekly graphic novel book club. I shared ideas for a great book discussion, mainly a discussion of how the artwork contributes to the mood, on the Celebrate a Book Instagram:
Additional Discussion Questions
Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate discussion that is specific to a graphic novel:
Useful Links for The Dam Keeper
Meet the authors, Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, on their website: Tonko House
Watch the original short video that inspired the story.
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