Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Book review by Trevor Agnew
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (2014) by
Mac Barnett, ill. Jon Klassen, Walker
“On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole.”This is a gentle picture book where two young brothers dig for treasure and find nothing. Nothing but friendship.
Dave is determined to keep digging until they “find something spectacular,” and he keeps suggesting different directions in which they might dig. Meanwhile young readers studying Jon Klassen’s imaginative cross-section illustrations, will have spotted that the diggers’ mineshaft has narrowly missed several huge jewels. Each turn of the page reveals another enormous treasure, which has just eluded the boys.
Exhausted and empty-handed but undaunted, the boys fall asleep at the bottom of the enormous hole. In a surprise ending their dog finds its own treasure and the boys unexpectedly achieve “something spectacular.”
There are many aspects of this seemingly simple book which reward closer examination, including mysterious changes in flowers and wind-vanes. Bright readers may find themselves taking the story further.
Note: This book review was first published in Your Weekend magazine (Fairfax NZ) on 29 November 2014.
Full publishing details:Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (2014) Mac Barnett, ill. Jon Klassen, Walker Books, 32pp, hb, NZ$27.99