The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo

33163372The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Publication Date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: First Second Books
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Animals, Children’s, Fantasy, Adventure, Friendship


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.


THE DAM KEEPER is based on a short, animated film. It’s ironic because the film is eighteen minutes long, and it took me around ten to read this graphic novel.

The story is interesting, although simple. Pig is watching over the city from his dam, so he can keep the fog (a mysterious element) away. But as the days go by, the fog becomes stronger and one would imagine deadlier.

No one knows what the fog is or what it does, but Pig lost his father to it, so he’s definitely not ready to trust it. However, he and his friends (Hippo and Fox) get lost in it and must find their way back home.


This is most of what happens in the book. So as you can see, it won’t take all your brains to follow the story. I liked the atmosphere of it so much… It’s whimsical, kind of warm because of the softened pictures, but also dark whenever the fog appears.

But can we talk about how annoying their names are? Seriously, to name animals by their species can be comic in certain contexts, but absolutely not here. And of course, there are other same animals, so then everyone would just be called Fox 1, Fox 2, etc.?

It’s like naming someone by their nationality. Hey, Romanian! Hey, French! Hey, African! How wrong does that sound? Very.

Other than that, I found entertaining the interactions between the three animals who journey together. There is tension between two of them, but they eventually warm up to one another. It’s pretty sweet. Though I do wonder what the what is wrong with Pig for conjuring? Imagining? his possibly dead father like that. Is he mad? Is it the fog? Questions to be answered in the sequel I guess.

Will watch the movie now.


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