Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen illustrator [Review & Givaway]

ISBN: 9780763662295
Candlewick Press $16.99 Hardcover

With perfect pacing, the multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humor.

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary —  and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

My thoughts: Knowing little boys, they do "stuff" and one of the "stuff" things they like to do is adventure into the unknown and what is more unknown than what lies underneath their feet. So Sam and Dave decide they are going to dig a hole. They are going to dig a hole looking for something spectacular. No, they're not looking for the typical fishing worms so many boys (and men) are wont to do, they are just going for the big, the spectacular, the unknown good stuff.

So with shovels in hand (and illustrator Jon Klassen with pen and water colors in hand) they venture forth in the backyard. Their trusty dog is with them all the way. And the cat is observing on the sidelines.
What is so neat and nifty about this dirt-encrusted (or so it appears from the colors) picture book is that they are going first down, then changing directions, then changing again. They stop and drink their chocolate milk and eat their animal crackers (while sitting deep in the hole and fully encrusted with dirt). They get tired. They keep digging. And finally they go to sleep. And dream.....

There are just a few words to this delightful adventure of two little boys (I had boys of my own!) and there are illustrations that are stark, replete with droll humour and eye rolls. And there is the spectacular - there in the dirt - there to be seen or to be missed. But alas I won't give away the ending.

I just wonder how many little boys have been inclined to go forth and dig a hole or to dig more holes since lingering on the pages of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.

I can see why this book has won so many awards including the cherished Caldecott Honor Book, the E.B. White Read-aloud Award, New York Times Best-Seller and Notable Book, etc.  I recommend this book for libraries and home libraries as well.

Candlewick Press is providing a giveaway copy
Begins November 10 
ENDS December 1 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to US & Canada addresses only!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. I was not compensated for this review nor was I required to render a positive review. Giveaway copy is provided directly to winner by publisher.


  1. Yeah, we were convinced we'd strike gold in our back yard.

  2. A picture is worth a thousand words, so bring 'em on! Tenniel's Alice illlustrations stick out in my memory.

  3. Funny question about my children digging holes, as my four year old is outside doing just that right now. :)

  4. I dug for dinosaur bones when I was 5. Never found squat.

  5. My sister & I used to spend hours digging holes when we went to the beach. But not really at home. And I don't think I've ever seen either of my kids digging holes.

  6. Good illustrations are a must in childrens books! They're the thing that 'hooks' the kids in the first place and keeps them interested. They're a great learning tool for being able to 'point out' different aspects of the story! I loved the illustrations in the Clifford the Big Red Dog books and Curious George books when I was a little girl.

  7. My sons were big diggers when they were little kids but I don't remember digging much as a little girl. Except for maybe in the sand on the beach. My sons and some family pets dug a huge hole in our backyard once when no one was looking. They were trying to tunnel under our home was their explanation!

  8. Illustrations were the most important part of the book to me when I was little. I would study them for hours. My favorite illustrated books were Hans Anderson Fairy Tales and any book that Maurice Sendak illustrated. A terrific book that came out this year with wonderful
    illustrations is "A Fine Dessert" written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

  9. I adore little boys! So glad God has blessed me with a couple! Thanks so much for linking this up at Booknificent Thursday this week!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here at Chat With Vera. If you need to contact me directly, please use the email associated with this blog and posted in the sidebar.