Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness by Robert Kondo; Dice Tsutsumi


 Downloaded through Netgalley to read for an honest review.

This is a tie-in to an animation and the second book in the series. There will be more! So my introduction to these characters and story was actually through Facebook stickers. The stickers show you a weirdly cute and yet dark characters:


The website which is linked in the image above is also lovely to look at. It has images, videos and their social media. 

The first book follows Pig and the life inside Sunrise Valley. He's bullied, makes a friend with Fox. Now they are going on an adventure...

Which is what is happening happening in The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness
The Dam Keeper Website


Short version:

Good:

- Gorgeous artwork and is just fun to look at. Excellent for students who cannot read yet or struggle with the font choice. You definitely see the adventure and can understand what is happening within the story with the images.
- A spookiness/dark aspect to the story. There is a ghost-like images and a sad flash back and what occurs at the end of the story.
- Touches on pollution and cultural belief differences but not deeply or anything. Could be used as an "extra" if you're teaching either of these points. Can students recognize they're putting masks on due to pollution? How do they react to different culture that they encounter? But definitely couldn't be a main piece in these lessons.
- Fun adventure story that you get to go along on!

Bad:

- Like the first book the font is hard to read. Age range for the first book is 7 to 11. Yes, kids this age can read and read well. But most children books have easy to read fonts. They're just big enough and nothing too different from what the kids are reading. Recommend for a kid who can easily read different fonts than what is normally in a book.
- Use the word crazy a little too much for my taste.
-There is a scene where the Princess of the moles is stepping a later and Pig accidentally sees up her dress. It's depicted in the story. This happens on page 109 so if you want to just skip that page to avoid that situation while reading this with your kids. 
- Ends on a cliffhanger we have to wait for the next installment!!!

Recommend:

Yes.

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Good:

The artwork is gorgeous and just fun to look at even if you're not able to read the words just yet. Great for kids who are too young to read. This story has a dark feel to in.

There is a bit of a spookiness to this story with Pig seeing what looks like a smoke ghost of his father. This triggers a flashback for Pig. Pig's loss can help discuss connecting students or your child to grief or sadness of loss and grief. Of course, if this is in a classroom setting you would definitely need to know your students well to do this.

In this their worldview is expanded they are learning there is more to life than just Sunrise Valley. There is a moment where they are in the city and have to put on breathing masks. These masks are meant to protect them from the pollution that the town has created.

This book is not ideal as one of your main point books but possibly good to have as a filler when talking about pollution. It could be something to see if kids recognize that they are putting on the masks because of the bad air.

They encounter people in this city who don't speak the same language as they do. They don't interact much with these characters other than to realize that they don't speak the same language. They're in the middle of looking for a friend that they lost in the crowd.

This has Hippo who is talking in his sleep. He's telling his father that he isn't a loser and that he'll do better. Hippo is the bully of this group so we're finding out that he's also being bullied at his house.

We get more hints about Pig's dad which I liked -- getting to some answers maybe??

Bad:

Like the first book in this series the fonts are hard to read. The age range states ages seven to eleven for the first book. I'm going to assume that this is the same age range for the second book. The writing is in white boxes so it's easy to find where the text is.

But creators of these lovely stories with the terrible fonts forget that kids struggle with these kind of things.

It uses the word "crazy" one too many that I wanted to shake the book in hopes to shake the word out.  When they are in the city with the pollution and people who don't speak their language they kind of adjust and move on.

 When they encounter the moles they show less acceptance or okay with dealing with people who are different than who they are. But you get to where she had plans on sacrificing Fox and Hippo so they were on the right track/ 

There is a scene where the Princess of the moles is stepping a later and Pig accidentally sees up her dress. It's depicted in the story. This happens on page 109 so if you want to just skip that page to avoid that situation while reading this with your kids.

It has its "Scary" bits with the creepy when Hippo and Fox are in the middle of almost getting sacrificed to what the moles and their princess call a Dragon. It's a smoke monster this happens toward the end of the story.

It ends on a cliffhanger. Why is Pig not going with them? What will happen? Where is this story going?

Again, unless you know your kids can handle the font and be able to read it comfortably that's fine. But it's definitely more of a picture book and a read to them kind of book. Many kids struggle with the type of font that is used in this story.

If you are against your kids or even your students reading things with "heck" or characters saying things like, "What the --?" and getting cut off this could be an issue. I know for parents often don't like replacement cuss words such as heck, darn, shoot,etc or the cutaways that suggestive of cussing even if there's no proof that is where they were going.

Recommend:

Yes. Even with the dark aspects of the story I think it's interesting enough. Used as an educational tool you would use this more of an extra simply because of the snip of pollution, introduction to different people and cultural beliefs. There is no depth to them alone in this particular story but they are there so it could be used -- but again as extra material.



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