The Dam

Publisher: Walker Books

Review

In 1981, a large dam was completed in the Kielder Valley, a wild and beautiful part of Northumberland. The dam was built on the site of a number of farms and homes that had to be evacuated, and, eventually, those buildings were covered with water.

This stunning, wild and atmospheric picture book by two giants of children’s literature tells the true story of a musician father and his daughter who, before the community is lost, enter each house in the valley and play music, sing and dance in each one, so that they will always contain music – and magic.

Fans of either Almond or Pinfold will be clamouring for this addition to both of their remarkable collections of work. Pinfold’s dark, slightly spooky pencilled vistas slowly transform to brighter spreads of green and blue as the past is bid farewell, and the dam transforms the landscape. Almond’s text is sparse and deeply resonant of the sadness of letting go, but also full of the power of music to commemorate and enchant.

This is, to be sure, a literary and art-led children’s book, but one with great depth, and the fact that it captures a true story will be of interest to all.

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