Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Author: Mac Barnett

Illustrator: Jon Klassen

Sam and Dave have decided they are going to dig a hole and keep going until they discover something amazing. Accompanied by their dog and observed by the cat, they keep on digging, trying different directions and tactics. Because of their choices, they miss a number of discoveries that most folks would consider pretty incredible (they should have paid more attention to the dog). But in the end, they do have a rather unbelievable experience . . . one that is actually more amazing than they even realize.

I really love those times when I come to a book with high expectations and come away having gotten even more than I expected. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole was one of those books that provided just that. At face value, it’s a cute picture book about two boys who have a good time determinedly working on a project and exploring. But it’s way more than that. The art is earthy and expressive–I love the way it tracks with the progression of the story. And the story itself is a great discussion-starter for topics like determination, hard work, making choices, missed opportunities, and much more. And if you really want to go into the wonder of the ending itself . . . well, they fell and ended up back home. Only was it really home? They dog and that cat’s shared look over the different fruit tree seem to indicate an alternate reality or something equally incredible. . . . I think my favorite parts of the story are the cat’s enigmatic gazes and the dog’s helpful (but ignored) enthusiasm. I would definitely recommend Sam & Dave Dig a Hole both as just a fun picture book for kids and as a thought-provoking study for adults.

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