Book Title:
The Dam Keeper
Book Author:
Robert Kondo, Dice Tsutsumi
Book Illustrator:
Robert Kondo, Dice Tsutsumi
Book Series:
The Dam Keeper, #1
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
September 26th, 2017
First Second
Date Read:
September 18th, 2017
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!


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.

Based on the Oscar-nominated animated short film of the same name, The Dam Keeper is a lush, vibrantly drawn graphic novel by Tonko House cofounders Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi.

My Review

First off, let me talk about how visually stunning The Dam Keeper is.  It has a hardcover format, and a dust jacket that is absolutely beautiful.  The gold lettering on the cover really adds to the book’s look, and the picture on the cover really does a lot to make you wonder what the book is about.  Seriously, this is probably one of the most lovely graphic novels that I’ve come across, and that’s just the cover alone.

The Dam Keeper is a unique and entertaining story that will capture your attention, no matter what your age.  While I’ve seen this one aimed at a middle grade audience, I can say that I am an adult and absolutely fell in love with this book, from beginning though the end.  The book is full of charming artwork that really captivates the reader, and the story within keeps you reading until the very last page (and then wanting more!).

I haven’t seen the short film that inspired this graphic novel, unfortunately, but it definitely makes me want to seek it out and watch it.

“Nothing lives in the fog…
…except memories.”

The Dam Keeper tells the story of Pig – he is in charge of watching this big machine that goes around the city that is called the dam.  The dam was invented by Pig’s father, who came up with the idea to use this machine to keep the deadly fog away from the city.  The fog is known to kill those who come in contact with it.  While Pig’s father is regarded as a genius for coming up with this invention, he was driven mad and stepped outside into the fog one night, never to be seen again.

Now Pig is in charge of maintaining the dam to keep the fog away from the citizens of Sunrise Valley.

“The job of a dam keeper is to keep the darkness away.”

While providing constant maintenance to the dam, Pig also has to go to school, where he has to deal with the town bully, Hippo.  Of course, Hippo is also friends with Pig’s best friend, Fox, who always tries to get the three of them to spend time together so Pig and Hippo can get to know each other.

One day, when something odd starts happening with the fog, Pig, Fox, and Hippo are torn  away from the safety of their village and the dam and thrust into the world – where all the plants and trees are dead and turned to dust – everything is void of life.

Together, the three of them must try and find their way back home before the fog returns and the worst happens.  But where is home?

I love the friendship between Fox and Pig, and although I wish we could have learned a bit more about Fox’s character (hopefully in the next book!), I really enjoyed the interaction between Pig, Fox, and Hippo throughout the story.  Like I mentioned earlier, the illustrations in the book really do transport you to a completely different world.  I think the authors of this book did such a wonderful job creating this world and the characters that inhabit it.

By the time I got to the end of this book (which is kind of short and easy to read –  in fact, I read through this in less than an hour), I wanted more.  At the end of the book it informs the reader that the adventure will continue in the next book in the series, which I am all too eager to get my hands on.

4 stars
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