Robert Kondo, The Dam Keeper: Return from the Shadows (2019)
It is a cliché that the pandemic made us all lose all sense of time. I couldn’t remember when my kids and I read the first two volumes of this trilogy. I remember it was warm when we read it, and that we got it from the library, so it couldn’t be from March to May, but otherwise, I could only trust this good old blog: it was actually in July!
I’m glad we found the final volume at the library, and I’m glad that the long journey of the piglet and his friends brought them all back home. It gave the reader a sort of emotional closure, after a really dark and bumpy story. It was visually splendid, and a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. The themes of friendship, family and courage are laid out very nicely. Sometimes courage can turn into pigheadedness (ah ah) or vanity, when some people feel that they know better than other people how to save everyone. I believe that such nuances would be lost to the little kids who might be otherwise attracted to the beautiful pictures and the kawai characters.
But somehow it felt slightly dull. There was really no big surprise in this final book, and this was a bit of a let-down after the two first volumes. I wish the ending would have been more developed instead of being so very straightforward. I still recommend the series to kids from 8-9.