The Dam Keeper
By Robert Kondo
First Second, 2017. 153 Pages.
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, taught him how to maintain it, and then walked into the fog never to be seen again. Now Pig is the dam keeper, with few aware of his efforts other than Fox, his best friend, and Hippo, the town bully. Now, with a tidal wave of black fog descending on Sunrise Valley, Pig, Fox, and Hippo must face the greatest danger imaginable: the world on the other side of the dam.
This book serves as a sequel to a short film and the first book of a series. As such, it's in an interesting place, with characters having an established background but the story just starting and ending with a cliffhanger. However, don't let that deter you from getting this book. The world and characters are interesting and introduced well enough that I never felt like I was coming in at the middle. Pig is a truly sympathetic character, which made me really want him to find happiness. What's more, this book is worth looking over just for the beautiful artwork. It's definitely a worthwhile book to pick up and read, with a story and dialogue being age appropriate for anyone in the family.