Reviews for Sam and dave dig a hole.

by Mac Barnett

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Sam and Dave, each wearing baseball caps and wielding long-handled shovels, set out to dig a hole. How big a hole? We won't stop digging until we find something spectacular, says Dave, so off they go, digging ever deeper while their little dog follows their progress. A cross section of their dig reveals that Sam and Dave come awfully close to their prize, but they keep digging and missing treasure until they decide to take a nap, during which they tumble right through the earth. Their landing sets them right back on safe ground though, and that, of course, is pretty spectacular. Klassen's pebbly, earth-toned, colored-pencil and digital illustrations of Sam and Dave's dig are exaggerated to comic effect, especially when coupled with Barnett's dry, simple text. Subtle visual clues (the final absence of dirt on Sam's and Dave's clothes; a closing house that's just slightly different from the opening one) suggest there's more to the story than meets the eye, and canny little ones will likely be delighted by the beguiling ending. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: From I Want My Hat Back (2011) to The Dark (2013), New York Times best-selling Klassen's titles have made him a star of the moment.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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Starred Review. Barnetts comic voice is at its driest as he recounts that quintessential American childhood activity-the digging of the giant hole. His deadpan prose mimics the declarative sentences of early readers: On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole. When should we stop digging? asked Sam. We are on a mission, said Dave. Klassens boys, with identical poker faces and glassy expressions, hold their shovels American Gothic-style, considering their next move. Cross-sections of earth show them further and further down, and comic tension erupts as readers see gigantic diamonds buried at intervals underground while Sam and Dave tunnel on, missing every one: So Dave went one way, and Sam went another. But they didnt find anything spectacular. Meanwhile, their dogs pursuit of a small bone leads further downward, possibly through the Earth and out the other side. They land in their own backyard again-or do they? Barnett and Klassen (Extra Yarn) dangle the prospect of fantastic subterranean treasure before readers, but leave them with an even greater reward: a tantalizingly creepy and open-ended conclusion. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PreS-Gr 1-The winning picture book team that created Extra Yarn (HarperCollins, 2012) is back together in this understated, humorous, and charmingly perplexing tale. Sam and Dave, who are either identical twin boys or friends who look astonishingly alike and share a sartorial sensibility, set out to dig a hole in the hopes of finding "something spectacular." With shovels in hand, the boys (with an eager terrier looking on) begin to tunnel into the soil, but they just can't seem to find anything of interest. What works spectacularly is the clever play between words and pictures. As in Klassen's This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick, 2012), readers are in on a joke to which the characters are oblivious. Namely, that each time the boys change direction, they narrowly miss discovering increasingly enormous jewels hidden in the earth. The book progresses with each verso showing the boys' progress, while the recto features simple text, mostly dialogue between the practical but unlucky explorers. About halfway through, a spread reveals a diamond so large it can barely be contained on the page; it dwarfs the two boys and their trusty canine companion-but all for naught, since they decide to dig in a different direction. Exhausted and covered from head to toe in dirt, Sam and Dave decide to take a rest. Klassen's use of muted earth tones and uncomplicated compositions is paired well with Barnett's deadpan humor. As they nap in their hole, the dog continues to dig.until suddenly the trio is falling; they soon land in a place that looks an awful lot like home. Small details reveal that this house and its inhabitants are ever so slightly changed. Are they dreaming? On the other side of the world? In a different dimension? Readers will have to puzzle that one out for themselves.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

When Sam and Dave dig a hole, readers get "something spectacular." The boys, on the other hand, do not. Their quest to find the spectacular brings them painfully and humorously close to buried jewels as they spade their way into the ground, accompanied by an intrepid canine companion. Readers occupy a superior position as cross-section illustrations reveal those jewels buried just out of the shovels' reach. Each time they near one, the increasingly grubby boys maddeningly change course. On they dig, tunneling in different directions, and each effort reveals (to readers) yet larger jewels evading them. Exhausted, they fall asleep, but the dog digs after a bone it senses below. In an unexpected turn, the ground gives way to nothingness, and the trio falls through empty space "until they landed in the soft dirt." At first glance, it seems they've ended up where they began: A small tree stands on the recto, and a house with a porch is on the verso, as before. But careful readers will notice that the tree here bears pears, while the tree at the story's start had apples. Other differing details (a weathervane duck instead of a chicken; a blue flower instead of a red one; a blue cat collar instead of a red) suggest that they've unwittingly fallen into another dimension. Poor Sam and Dave. Lucky readers. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Sam and Dave hope to dig up "something spectacular" but, alas, unearth nothing, repeatedly coming close to (but just missing) precious gems. When their dog, digging for a bone, ruptures the hole's dirt floor, the explorers fall "down, down, down," and land in what appears to be their own yard. Well-chosen words and plentiful white space support readers; cross-section illustrations add visual humor. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.