With its every detail—its masterful illustrations, its landscape format, and the elegant text that offers readers a way to see the promise of new life from what has been destroyed—this book triumphs.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
With riveting language and moody art, this true story will evoke awe and reverence of place for even very young readers.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Pinfold’s mixed-media illustrations make the abstract concrete in carefully designed spreads that vary between small, tidily arrayed thumbnails and three-quarter and full spreads…An afterword explains that this is based on the real-life experience of folk musician Mike Tickell and his daughter, and it might be effective to draw on that text as explanation before sharing the story with youngsters to make the most of the story’s emotional impact.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Pinfold’s impressive artwork, sometimes full page, but often blocks of scenes covering spreads, serves as sturdy counterpoint to Almond’s lyrical text. Particularly arresting are the 10 dark squares and rectangles that show the water covering all that’s been before. Yet the promise of what comes next appears with the turn of a page, as people enjoy all the lake and its shore have to offer. A powerful piece of remembrance.
This hints at a ghostly tale that could make nice material for oral storytelling and shared reading with some older children. It might also be fun to use in music, natural science, and local history classes.
—School Library Journal
Pinfold tackles the tricky problem of how to portray music visually by painting elongated, wispy white figures whirling around the dark houses and in the night sky. This is a story that respects the past and its traditions without falling into nostalgia.
—The Horn Book
Perhaps the most extraordinarily lovely and melancholy picture book published this year, The Dam will linger in readers’ minds. But what sticks with you after the book is closed is not desolation and defeat; it’s blue water and open skies, exuberant children, dancing stars and, of course, music.
This is a beautifully written story about loss, hope, and folk music…These illustrations are very powerful and give the reader a great sense of hope and sadness. Between the words and illustrations, this story would be a wonderful addition to any classroom. Especially useful for readers to experience the importance of illustrations and what they can add to a story.
—School Library Connection
Before the dam is finished and the valley flooded, a father and daughter visit one last time to fill the doomed homes with music in this haunting book featuring David Almond’s trademark narrative magic and dramatic sepia illustrations by Levi Pinfold.