Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett


sam and dave

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Published October 14th, 2014 by Candlewick Press

Publisher’s Summary: 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  n this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

About the Creators: Mac Barnett is the author of several award-winning books for children, including President Taft Is Stuck in the Bathillustrated 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.

Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book, and This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal. He is also the illustrator of House Held Up by Trees, written by Ted Kooser, which was named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book, and Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett, which won a Caldecott Honor. Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jon Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I just love the work that Mac and Jon do. I don’t think I have read any of their books that I haven’t enjoyed and haven’t found myself wanting to talk about. What I love most about their books is that they are unique and so, so, so smart. Their books are like no other, and this book is no different. It has nuances you have to carefully look for, it has an ending that you can debate about for a very long time, and overall is just so well done. I think this, along with the Hat books, may be the best open-ended picture books out there. Just like wordless books, open-ended books truly invokes conversing. When I finished, I immediately asked my husband to read it, so we could discuss the ending. Travis Jonker has a great post about the different theories about the ending, but I warn you: there are spoilers in the post! Think of all the great conversations or writing your students will have/do because of this thought-provoking picture book.

For some laughs, also check out Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen Make a Book: A Transcript.

Discussion Questions: What do you think happened at the end?; What do you notice about the dog as you are reading the book?; How is the ending different from the beginning?

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Loved: I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Laura at Candlewick for providing a copy for review**

2 thoughts on “Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett”

  1. I teach Kindergarten. I have read this book to countless children over many years. Twice, now, the following question has been raised:
    Are Sam and Dave brothers, or cousins?

    The book states they share a Grandfather, but does not specify their relationship.

    Can anyone help clear this up for a group of 4 and 5 year olds?!


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