cover image The Dam

The Dam

David Almond, illus. by Levi Pinfold. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9597-2

In lilting prose, Andersen Medalist Almond (Skellig) begins with a father who wakes his daughter at dawn: “Bring your fiddle,” he tells her. The dam that will flood their valley in the north of England is almost done. The buildings are empty, their inhabitants rehoused. The father pulls the boarded door off a deserted stone cottage, and they enter. “Now play,” he tells his daughter. “Play for all that are gone/ and for all that are still to come.” Without condemning the dam (one day, the inhabitants will play by the lake it forms), Almond recounts the way one family memorializes a cherished musical landscape with the loveliest thing they know. Chilly, windswept spreads by Pinfold (Black Dog) keep to slate grays, yellow browns, and stark light. Vignettes in which a tiny boat is carried higher and higher, above the roof of a submerged house, accompany the valley’s transformation (“The dam was sealed. The water rose. This disappeared...”). With riveting language and moody art, this true story will evoke awe and reverence of place for even very young readers. Ages 5–9. [em](Sept.) [/em]