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Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Written by Mac Barnett

Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Featured Books for 3+ readers Featured Books for 5+ readers

LoveReading View on Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Wonderful example of pictures telling the true story to great witty effect from a brilliantly talented partnership

Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016.

Award-winning illustrator Jon Klassen has created a second delightful and surprising picture book with Mac Barnett, author of The Dark. Here two boys dig a hole. It doesn’t seem to take them far so they try digging a bit on their own. They still make little progress. So they take a rest…What happens while they are asleep turns out to be most surprising of all! In simple illustrations, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole gives a host of opportunities for imagining and dreaming. 

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole Synopsis

From the award-winning team behind Extra Yarn, and illustrated by Jon Klassen, the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of This Is Not My Hat and and I Want My Hat Back, comes a perfectly paced, deadpan tale full of visual humour.

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. This is an all-new story from the award-winning team of Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett.

It offers a humorous look at the pleasures of outdoor play and its often surprising rewards. The interplay of text and art makes this a great read-aloud.

How did Jon and Mac come up with the idea for Sam and Dave Dig a Hole? Mac: Well we were having breakfast together in a diner in Los Angeles.
Jon: Yes.
Mac: I was eating chilaquiles.
Jon: I believe I was eating a fried egg sandwich.
Mac: And then we just sort of got to talking about this book. It combined our enthusiasm for interesting forms and digging holes.
Jon: Yes. I think that’s what interested me most about the book — the way it was going
to be laid out as they got deeper and deeper in the ground, and the opportunities for a neat story there.
Mac: Oh, I’ll bet people would like to know that you drew the first sketches on a diner
napkin. I think that is a nice image. One that will make people like the book more.
Jon: Yes.
Mac: I still have that napkin, not because of the sketch, but because I have a box of all the napkins from every meal I’ve eaten since 1996.
Jon: Ok!

How did you come up with the characters of Sam and Dave? Are they based on real children?
Jon: Hmmm I mean, they are based on our “ideas” of children in that they are short
Mac: And wear hats And have plenty of unsupervised time
Jon: With tools
Mac: They’re really just two kids who are excited to dig a hole, which I think is true
of a lot of kids.
Jon: Yeah! It’s a really simple but potentially exciting thing to do.

What do you hope children will take away from the story?
Mac: I hope they will take away a copy of the story, bought and paid for with their own
hard-earned allowance.
Jon: Or whatever things of value they have managed to dig out of the ground.
Mac: Yes, the real value of this book is not in any message, but in the many gems you can obtain by digging holes in your very own yard.
Jon: “There are gems in the ground in your yard”

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and share books from an early age and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of the younger members of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Tracey Parker and Tom, age 4 - 'Tom and I loved reading this book...It gave us lots to talk about while we read the book together. We had fun changing the names of the characters to Tom and his friends and our trusty dog was included too!' Read full review >
  • Emma Johnson, age 4 - 'I liked reading this story because I could read it on my own.  I kept thinking that they were going to find treasure and wanted to tell them where it was.' Read full review >
  • James McNichol, age 4 - 'A slightly confusing read...Due to the small number of words on a page it is a good book for a young reader.' Read full review >
  • Cassandra Butler, age 5 - 'Sam and Dave keep digging a hole, but I thought they were a bit silly to keep changing direction and missing the diamonds.' Read full review >
  • Cassandra's Mum - 'Cassandra had no real issues reading this out loud on her own bar one or two tougher words, however I wasn't that impressed with the story, as I just didn't get the ending!' Read full review >

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781406360981
Publication date: 03/09/2015
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781406357769
Publication date: 01/10/2014
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781406360981
Publication date: 3rd September 2015
Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 40 pages
Suitable for: 3+ readers, 5+ readers
Recommendations: Reviewed by Children
Other Categories: All Shortlists and Winners

About Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett is the author of several award-winning books for children, including President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, and Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, which won a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and a Caldecott Honor. Mac Barnett lives in California, USA. 

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