Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
By Mac Barnett
I bought a used copy of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole at the library, little realizing that the Vox box still worked! My son has listened to this book at least ten times in the past few days. So, as you might have guessed, I am now quite familiar with the story.
First Impressions: The illustrations and two kids drinking canteens of chocolate milk were enough for me to buy this book. Also, with a toddler boy, I wanted a book that he would find relatable. He loves digging holes, so win, win win!
Take-aways: It was a nice surprise that the Vox box plays a recorded read-along of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole. Although I do set aside a sizable chunk of the day to read to my son, for him, no amount of time quenches his thirst for being read to. So, yeah, it’s been nice having a book that will read to him.
At first, this book seems silly, fantastical, and a little absurd, like most good children’s books. Two boys set out seeking something “spectacular” through pretty mundane, ordinary means: digging a hole (which really, turns into tunnels). It seems like they are missing what everyone on this planet would agree to be spectacular — like larger-than-life diamonds! The reader is left thinking, if only they kept digging in the same direction long enough, they’d be rich for 30 lifetimes.
However, upon listening to this book for the eighth time, I realized that, maybe there is something more readers can glean from this book. For example, had Sam and Dave found a diamond, their journey would have ended, and they would have stopped looking for something spectacular. Instead, they dug so far, they ended up falling from one reality to another. (Look at the fruit trees in the beginning and end of the book; there’s an apple tree at the beginning and a pear tree at the end. Clearly, they didn’t arrive where they began!)
They dug so far, that the spectacular thing they found was the experience itself, and the new world it gave them access to. Pretty deep for a kid’s book, right?
Book Review by Ellie