Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

by Mac Barnett

Other authorsJon Klassen (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2014

Call number



Candlewick (2014), Edition: Illustrated, 40 pages


Sam and Dave are sure they will discover something exciting if they just keep digging their hole.

User reviews

LibraryThing member melodyreads
Caldecott Honor book 2015

Great story!!
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Very pretty, cute and made me laugh.
LibraryThing member laineyh
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is about two boys, accompanied by their dog, that decide to dig a hole and continue to dig that hole. The two boys are in search of something extra special and continue to dig their way into the earth, only stopping for chocolate milk and a few cookies. As the anticipation
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builds, the reader is surprised by what Sam and Dave find at the end… back at their own house! Sam and Dave is a great example of one of those fun stories that you love to read because of the surprisingly silly and unexpected endings. Not only does Klassen give a surprise ending, but he also lets the reader in a joke that Sam and Dave do not know; they continue to barely miss the buried jewels or the something spectacular that they are looking for. I thought the use of white on the pages and the art that accompanied the book was very unique, especially because the illustrations were made with colored pencils and a computer. Not only are the illustrations simple, but Klassen also seems to pack detail about the background characters (such as the dog digging for a bone) that will allow readers the opportunity to enjoy this book time after time. I think that stories like this are great because they are fun read alouds for children and keep them hanging on their seats anticipating what Sam and Dave may find.
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LibraryThing member mmeharvey
This book took the 2014 Caldecott medal for a reason! The story is about Sam and Dave who are on the search something spectacular. The quirky ending gets kids thinking and we had some great discussions about why the book ended the way it did. Jon Klassen's illustrations provide great talking points
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as some of details in the opening pages are reversed at the end. Highly recommended for both primary and intermediate students.
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LibraryThing member ecarlson2014
This is a chapter book that is a fantasy literature text. It tells the story of two friends, Sam and Dave who have decided to dig until they find something spectacular. They dig and dig without finding anything, then something spectacular happens.
LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Droll and delightful.
LibraryThing member LindsayReeves
This book really caught my eye! The illustrations were beautiful and the story kept my interest throughout! I was even curious to how the story would end! The two characters (and their dog) set out to find something spectacular! As they are digging, the illustrations give you clues about what is
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hiding in the dirt. Each time you think... will they find the hidden treasure?! What they find at the end is heartwarming and teaches us all about enjoying and embracing the experiences that we go through. Such a sweet book!
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LibraryThing member StoutHearted
Cute story that seems simple yet opens up to a lot more depth. On the surface, it's about two kids who dig a hole looking for treasure, but keep just missing it. Beyond that is a story about how the journey is worth more than promised riches.
LibraryThing member thornton37814
Sam and Dave dig a hole, but they just keep missing the treasure (or diamond) they are seeking. The text itself does not give the reader the entire story. This one must have the accompanying illustrations or the point of the story will be missed.
LibraryThing member pussreboots
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett is a 2015 Caldecott honor book but it's one of those books that's a bit of a head scratcher. Before I explain why, let me tell you a story.

I grew up in a suburb of San Diego that was built on the tops of hills that define the contours of Rose Canyon. When the
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suburb was originally planned, there were lots of major boulevards designed to cut through the valleys and connect the neighborhood with its neighbors.

Many of those plans fell through as the Baby Boom's birth rate dwindled, leaving a primarily linear navigation scheme shaped around one large cross on the major directions of the compass. The other streets dwindled off it into small circles that lead to dead ends at canyon trails, cul du sacs, or looped in on themselves.

But there is one road that seemed like a magical short cut to bi-pass the traffic of the main drag through town. It started at the junior high and ended (after going in a straight line, or at least it appeared straight a half mile down the same road at the elementary school.

Straight lines, I knew, don't cross a second time. So to my juvenile mind, if my parents took the short cut and then took the long way home, we had to be in an alternate universe that just looked very similar. There was no other way to explain it.

It wasn't until I was older and I borrowed my Grandmother's Thomas Guide road atlas that I realized they were three roads: Radcliffe, Syracuse, and Stadium that have a couple gentle curves where they connect. As a passenger, distracted by drawing or reading, I just didn't notice the curves!

So back to Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. Sam and Dave are bored and decide to dig a hole to look for something interesting. They go one way and then another, and then at angles and never manage to find anything. As readers we are privy to what they can't see through the dirt. We can see ever larger diamonds as they go.

And then... and then... the bottom drops out, literally. Sam and Dave and their dog take a tumble and end up home.

Well... Sam and Dave were digging. So the curved road solution isn't really an option here, is it?

Now, take a look at the home a the start of the book and at the end of the book. What kinds of flowers are there? What kind of fruit tree? What kind of weather vane?

Here's the thing. The pay off is so subtle that most people (of all ages) miss the punchline until it's explained to them. And it's not enough of a trip to get people talking — not like the mind bending 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's two boys digging holes for pages and pages and pages. The set up, while cute on the first missed diamond, is boring!

So when the plot (such as it is) takes a wrong turn at Albuquerque, readers seem mostly relieved to be done with the book. Then if an initiated reader shows them the trick, the look at the first and last pages, and ooh and ahh, appreciatively. But that appreciation isn't enough to want to re-read the book right away.
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LibraryThing member Ebarclift13
This is a great realistic fiction/fantasy literature piece. It is the story of two boys who begin to dig a hole. However, as they dig their hole they begin to search for something "spectacular." However, as the boys changes their digging pattern direction, little do they know they are on tbarely
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not discovering jewels in the ground. As the boys grow weary they drink chocolate milk and cookies, then fall asleep. The boys wake up falling and landing on new ground to dig.
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LibraryThing member kvelin
I wasn't a huge fan of this book. It was a realistic fiction book about two men who decide to dig until they find something spectacular. They keep digging and digging. The illustrations show them just barely missing diamonds. Eventually they get so tired that they sit down to reset. Their dog digs
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through the floor and they fall until they end up back outside their house. It was a Cadlecott Honor book and the pictures are great, but I found the story lacking.
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LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Very pretty, cute and made me laugh.
LibraryThing member ebecker13
This realistic fiction book is about two boys and a dog who dig a hole to find treasures. They dig and dig and dig but don't find anything. They get tired and fall asleep and when they are asleep their dog starts digging which causes them to fall. It is a mystery as to what happens next!
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Very pretty, cute and made me laugh.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Very pretty, cute and made me laugh.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Determined to find something spectacular, Sam and Dave dig a hole outside their grandfather's house, working until they are in over their heads. Just as they are about to unearth an enormous gem, they become discouraged and begin digging in a different direction. After successive almost-discoveries
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of a similar nature, they find themselves falling into something very spectacular indeed...

Awarded a Caldecott Honor in 2015, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is a picture-book with immense aesthetic and storytelling appeal. As always, Jon Klassen's illustrations are beautiful, with muted sepia tones and a stylized folk-art appeal. I was utterly charmed by the fact that Sam and Dave's little dog is obviously aware, in each scene, just where the "treasure" is buried. Young readers will identify with that dog, as they too see the gems that the two boys in the story keep missing, and will enjoy being "in the know." The conclusion of the tale, in which Sam and Dave fall in to an alternate universe, is indicated solely through the artwork, rewarding close readers for their attentive perusal. Recommended to Jon Klassen fans, and to anyone looking for children's stories featuring imaginative play and/or fantastic adventures.
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LibraryThing member gmorgan14
Genre: Fantasy
The setting of the story is what makes it most interesting. The two boys decide to dig a hole that goes far beyond the realistic depth any two humans could dig in the earth. The illustrations do a grand job of representing the bizarre places within the earth and what it encompasses.
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The setting also forms a great twist at the end where the characters are in some sort of seemingly alternate universe that they are unaware of. I would most likely use this particular book when I wanted my students to use their imaginations to give ideas on where the characters went, or how they got there. It could also be a great interactive piece for class discussion as the book goes on. It is also a good story to show how the boys find something spectacular even though they do not find the treasures illustrated in the setting. This would get the students thinking about how they define "spectacular" things and a worth while adventure with a friend.
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LibraryThing member schubert_stacey
Summary: Sam & Dave are on a mission to find something spectacular so they start digging a hole. As they're digging, the pictures tell their own story. There's a surprise at the end.
Personal Response: It's a delightful book that all will enjoy! Watching what happens as they dig in the pictures is
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Curriculum Connections: adventures, details
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LibraryThing member MadelynMaxwell
In this story of Sam and Dave they go on an adventure by digging a hole to find a treasure underground. While digging they keep getting tired so they decide to change direction missing the treasure every time. This is a fun story that will grab and keep readers interested and leave them wanting
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LibraryThing member Robinsonstef
What happens when Sam and Dave dig a hole looking for something spectacular? Will they be able to dig down very far? Is there anything interesting hidden in the ground? Will their dog help them? Could there really be a treasure?

Margo spotted this gem at our local bookstore and had to have it. The
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story is about some boys digging for something spectacular. They dig down. Nothing. They change course- still nothing. Their dog tries to help them. But they can't find anything! At least that’s the story when you only read the words. The illustrations tell a whole other story!

I enjoyed reading Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, which was written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. The writing style is straightforward and has a strong impact because the pictures reveal what is really happening. Poor Sam and Dave- they have no idea what they are missing! The illustrations are interesting and different. This is a fun story to read to someone who can’t see the pictures and then read it again when they can see what the author didn’t reveal.
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LibraryThing member Katherine.Boykins
Sam and Dave dig a hole hoping to find treasure. They dig straight down but don't find anything, so they dig in another direction. They still don't find anything so they split up, but they still don't find anything. After a ton of digging, they take a rest and decide to sleep. Suddenly they are
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falling! Falling back down to where they first started digging. This book is great for teaching cause and effect. Students are able to see how switching directions effected the outcome. This story is also great for predicting. Students are able to predict what they think will happen next.
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LibraryThing member doyoudogear
This was so clever and wonderful! We loved it!
LibraryThing member villemezbrown
I was amused as Sam and Dave took some unfortunate turns in their digging adventure, but was a bit befuddled by the enigmatic ending until all the details and ramifications were pointed out to me by my wife and daughter. Pretty subtle and terrifying for a picture book.

I'm claiming I didn't catch on
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right away because I was distracted throughout the whole book that the creators did nothing to deal with the issue of dirt disposal and tunnel navigation. Where are the buckets, ropes and ladders necessary for dirt removal and the resulting mounds on the surface? Are these supposed to be magical shovels, the presence of which telegraph the fantastical ending?
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LibraryThing member collinshapiro
in the story, sam an dave go to look for treasure by digging massive hole in the ground but do not find any. in the illustrations it is seen that they become soooo close to finding diamonds but then change direction. at the end they fall through the dirt and go back home to drink choc milk and eat
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cookies. they agree that it was "spectacular" despite not finding anything valuable- but that the value was already all around them.
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