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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Dam, written by David Almond and illustrated by Levi Pinfold. Candlewick Studio, Penguin Random House. 2018. $23.99 ages 6 and up

""Archie Dagg the piper
played here. And Gracie
Gray, she of the gorgeous

"There were dances here.
There were parties. 

"I came as a boy to hear
them ... "

When the father wakes his daughter early in the morning, he asks her to bring along her fiddle. He knows the dam will soon be completed, and their valley will be flooded. There is, of course, no family living within the area anymore . Everyone has been required to leave; each is given a new home.

Walking past the many buildings, the father spots an abandoned cottage. Quickly, he pulls the door away and the two enter . He assures that there is no danger within its walls. But, he has a request for his daughter.

"Now play.
Play for all that are gone
and for all that are still to come.
Play, Kathryn, play."

"Sing, Daddy, sing.
Dance, Daddy, dance."

They know the dam will change everything, and they are not angry. Their adventure takes them from house to house, filling each with music, and offering all who listen a glorious musical tribute to the land they have so loved. When the dam is done and the lake is their new reality, they find beauty in its existence as well. And the music stays.

Using charcoal, ink, pastel and digital imaging, Levi Pinfold evokes an earlier time. His muted palette gives life to a moody landscape and a feeling of reverence for a place that will be no more.
The spreads are varied in perspective and detail. The change in palette once the lake has formed and the people can enjoy its many pleasures is uplifting.

Beautifully told, with music at its heart, this is a story that is wistful and empowering as it shows that change may be hard to take, but it can be equally wondrous.

An author's note tells readers that this is a true story. Unforgettable!

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