The Dam by David Almond – Book Review

The Dam by David Almond – Book Review

The Dam by David Almond

The Dam

Author – David Almond
Publisher – Walker Books
Pages – 32
Released – 1st August 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1406386035
Format – paperback, hardcover
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.


A lyrical, captivating and beautiful picture book by Carnegie Medal-winner David Almond, illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Levi Pinfold.

When a great dam was built by the Kielder Water in Northumberland, the valley below slowly filled with water. But just before this, when the villagers had been moved out, two musicians went back to the abandoned valley.

They tore down the boards over the houses, stepped inside and started to play – for this would be the last time that music would be heard in this place. In this astonishing picture book that combines themes of loss, hope and music David Almond pays homage to all musicians, showing the ancient and unstoppable power of creativity.

Review new 2021

Kielder Water is the largest artificial reservoir in the UK. Work began creating it in the 1970s and it was finished in 1981. When the dam was constructed it flooded farmland and old houses had to be knocked down to make way for it. This is the story of a little girl and her father entering the houses soon to be flooded and the little girl playing her violin. The last time the place would hear music.

The book is beautifully illustrated and captures the essence of what it must have been like watching an area be flooded with water and peoples home being destroyed to make way for the reservoir.

It was hard to decide what I thought of this book due to the fact that I don’t believe children will understand it. It’s more a philosophical book than a story and with the illustrations so brown and dull I can’t see many children choosing to read it. However, as an adult, I think it is very touching and heartfelt.

The book is based on a true story about an artist who went on to be a great musician, Kathryn Tickell, unfortunately, I’ve never heard of her before, but will look her up. At the back of the book is factual information on a dam that most children have probably never heard of before. It will also open their eyes to how they made the reservoir and what people had to give up for to be created.

The way that David Almond mind works is just genius and if you haven’t read any of his work you should, just don’t expect the norm.

Book Reviewer – Stacey

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About the Author

David Almond the dam

David Almond is a British children’s writer who has penned several novels, each one to critical acclaim. He was born and raised in Felling and Newcastle in post-industrial North East England and educated at the University of East Anglia. When he was young, he found his love of writing when some short stories of his were published in a local magazine. He started out as an author of adult fiction before finding his niche writing literature for young adults.

His works are highly philosophical and thus appeal to children and adults alike. Recurring themes throughout include the complex relationships between apparent opposites (such as life and death, reality and fiction, past and future); forms of education; growing up and adapting to change; the nature of ‘the self’. He has been greatly influenced by the works of the English Romantic poet William Blake.

He is an author often suggested on National Curriculum reading lists in the United Kingdom and has attracted the attention of academics who specialise in the study of children’s literature.

Almond currently lives with his family in Northumberland, England.

The Dam

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