Most post-apocalyptic tales show what has become of human society. This children-friendly tale doesn’t as the focus is on a culture that didn’t emerge from the remnants of humanity, but rather from an intelligent mutant or cross-breed species that is decidedly great ape in origin. [Think: Planet of the Apes.] While pockets of humanity exist, most of what was and rumors of mankind numbering in the billions and spreading across the entire planet has descended into cultural myth for this low-tech, village society.
The tale centers on 3 characters. Brother and sister, Droggo and Olka, are from the non-human village and are wary of the hairless, pale humans. They’ve left the safe confines of their village because for generations, their family has served as Keepers of the Akku for their village. The daunting task involves taking the mysterious black boxes [the akku, aka batteries] a couple days journey across the barren lands to where the human city can be seen. There sits a strange empty building where the akku can be “fed”[recharged]. Their power is needed to bring up the village’s water from deep underground. The nature of the akku and the rechanging station is not a mystery nor spoiler, the descriptions make it clear what it is that Droggo and Olka don’t understand. The clear filtering of the tale through their eyes is brilliant.
The third main character is the human girl that has run away from the city and hidden herself at the charging station. She knows what the akku are, and says as much.
The heart of the tale is the cross-cultural relationship growing between the 3 as cultural sensitivities are respected, and yet prejudice stands in the way of any easy companionship.