Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen

Mac Barnett's Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
illustrated by Jon Klassen

Book review by Kristin Peck

Ages 4-8

Can you spot the differences?

(Webmaster's note: our reviewer really disliked this book... until she really liked it!)

Thoughts while reading this book:

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole - fascinating title.

Okay, Sam and Dave dig a hole to find something to do of interest or amusement as they are obviously bored, as indicated by the fact that they feel the need to dig a random hole.

And that's it … that is the whole story… is this really the whole story?

There is a dog following them around, maybe he is important.

How that sad looking apple tree isn't tilting next to that hole is beyond me.

Caldecott officials, we need to have a talk.

Oh, wait! They have chocolate milk and animal cookies!

Hmmm… hope it wasn't hot out … chocolate MILK in a canteen.

Allow me to get out my four year old voice, "EW!"

Annnnd … I'm back.

Does anyone else think the children look more like construction workers wearing hard hats instead of ball caps? No?

Hold on! There may be more to this story after all...

Turning page … They are missing the treasure completely.

Another page…….. It's right there! Hello? Is no one listening to me in this book?

One more………… They have completely dug around the treasure (shaking my head).

They fell asleep in the hole.


Poor dog, what if he has to pee? He is stuck in the hole with them. Okay, so really poor them if he has to pee, he is a dog.

Well he finds his way out by digging down and finding a bone.

Sam & Dave - and the dog - falling from the hole/the sky

Which causes everyone else to fall out of the hole, I'm lost.

They fell out of the sky! So, are they on the other side of the world?

No, that is their house, their cat, and their tree.

This literally ends by the boys going back in the house with their shovels to eat animal crackers, drink milk, and remark about the fact that falling through the hole and coming out of the sky was "spectacular."

Okay, I am putting the book down now.


Really, why am I reading this again? I guess I am determined to find out why this book was so highly favored.

Flipping pages … flip, flip, flip, PAUSE!

Apple tree, pear tree!!! They are different! Review continues.

Spot the differences!

So is the cat's collar color, the shade of the house, and hey that is a duck instead of a rooster on the top of the roof! The flowers are completely different - A tulip turns into a daisy.
When they fell through the sky, the boys and the dog ended up where? A parallel universe, perhaps, or was it all a dream?

Theories … thoughts … contemplation … maybe it is all a metaphor or a euphemism.

The journey that the boys took did not turn out the way they thought it would, but they came out with a different perspective of the world around them. Yup, that is what I'm going with.

This reflects mankind's journey through life. Although, we may not get exactly where we thought we would or gain the treasures we wish we had, the journey can sometimes be enough to show us the treasure lies within our experiences.

Well then that is an illustrious teaching tool. I love it!

Review - Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

This is a book that may take a few times to read and get the point (if we have indeed succeeded in getting the creators' point).

Upon the initial run-through, one truly begins to feel that the children's book field has gone completely downhill, and that no one is giving children the credit they deserve to decipher in-depth meaning behind eloquent words.

Yet, it is truly the adult that has to take a moment, step back, and think like a child to realize the endearment behind the creatively engineered story.

The simple illustrations in the book are a great compliment to the short text, and without them, as I discovered by only focusing on the words, the tale is incomplete.
Amusement is found in the fact that you can shout at the characters all you want, but if they are not going to listen to the dog who is clearly bewildered by their inept sense of direction, they are not going to listen to the reader.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is a book that I will definitely return to (I have no choice, my son loves it).

More Caldecott books.

Also from Barnett and Klassen: Extra Yarn.

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