BK Story Voyager Book Picks: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
By Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
(For readers in Preschool–3rd Grade)

The writer and illustrator pair, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, respectively, are best known for the Shape Trilogy.  Here they bring their classic humor to Sam & Dave Dig a Hole.  The words and images by themselves are relatively simple, but together the story resonates a genuine warmth that digs deep into the hearts of readers of all ages.

Sam and Dave (who are brothers or cousins as they share a grandfather) want to find something spectacular so they go on a digging mission. When they do not find anything spectacular at first they persevere but eventually change strategies and even rest.  Digging is hard! Barnett’s words are clear and to the point.  Klassen’s illustrations add lively visual mischief and brings comic depth to the straight-played words and vice versa.

As Sam and Dave dig, the illustrations show the bigger picture of what they can’t see. Spectacular items are all around and within their reach. Their dog seems to know where the spectacular things are, but he is unable to inform Sam and Dave of this. The illustrations contribute equally to the telling of this story.  A simple plot with complex themes under the surface makes for an enjoyable read for adults who will enjoy sharing this story with their children!

Sam &Dave Dig a Hole has won several prizes: 2015 Caldecott Honor, 2015 E.B. White Read Aloud Award among others, and it has made the 2014 best or notable book lists of many publications some of which are: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, and PBS.

This book is a timely read at present, as the ground in most places begins to show the green shoots that will eventually turn into spring spectacles.  This book may inspire your child to look beyond what their eyes can see during their next outdoor adventure.  In Spring 2021, St. Nicks Alliance’s Youth and Education team will feature Sam & Dave Dig a Hole as part of our Family Literacy series titled: Reach for the Stars!

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