The Dam Keeper, Book 1

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Product Details

$25.99  $24.17
First Second
Publish Date
7.4 X 9.0 X 0.8 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Robert Kondo was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles. As a child, he learned art from his mother, a trained fashion designer, which led him to study illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. For twelve years, he worked at Pixar Animation Studios as an art director on films like Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, and Monsters University.

Originally from Japan, Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Dice has worked as an artist at Blue Sky Studios on Ice Age, Robots, and Horton Hears a Who! and as an art director at Pixar on Toy Story 3 and Monsters University. Along the way, Dice spearheaded charity projects like the Totoro Forest Project and Sketchtravel.

Together, Kondo and Tstutsumi directed the 2015 Oscar-nominated short The Dam Keeper and then founded their own studio, Tonko House, in Berkeley, California.


"A beautifully realized, wonderfully painted tale of courage and mystery." --Shaun Tan, author of The Arrival

"The Dam Keeper is beautiful in every way a graphic novel can be beautiful. A stunner." --Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and author of American Born Chinese

With a startling sincerity and an almost alchemical use of light, The Dam Keeper manages to believably place very cute animals in an incredibly dark and complex world. I've never seen anything quite like it before."
--Brian Selznick, Caldecott winning author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

"Gorgeous digital art that vividly illustrated the interplay of sunlight and shadow... Intriguing." --New York Times

"Merged with profound and touching coming-of-age themes, The Dam Keeper invites a groundswell of emotion." --Paste

"Kondo and Tsutsumi have created what feels like an instant classic, perilous and terrifying but full of heart, with immersive artwork and a rewarding story. Unmissable." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The tug-of-war between light and dark extends out of the plot and right into the images in a haunting story that contrasts the power of friendship with the weight of responsibility and the capacity for growth." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"For fans of emotional fantasy stories, artistic graphic novels, and stories about overcoming obstacles."-- School Library Journal

"Beautiful artwork and heartening relationships among the animal characters." --Booklist