Spectacular things come in all shapes and sizes, and in Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Mac Barnett delivers something pretty darn spectacular in the form of a picture book. This story, with illustrations by the phenomenal Jon Klassen, is fantastic, one that Pickle gets so excited to read because he totally delights in the fact that he can see things "behind the scenes" that the title characters, Sam and Dave, are not privy too. Every time we open this book, Pickle will undoubtedly start screaming "Look! Look!" while jumping on the bed maniacally. It never gets old for him, nor has it gotten old for me.
In this story, Sam and Dave have one single mission: to dig a hole until they find something spectacular. Thus, the two boys dig and dig, this way and that, until their hole is so deep that their heads are underground. And though the boys think something spectacular does indeed happen in the end, it's not what the reader anticipates... And this is just one of the things that makes this story so fantastic.
I absolutely love books where the textual and visual narratives tell two different stories, each serving to support and enhance the other while at the same time carrying their own weight. Sam and Dave's quest brings them incredibly close to discovering gigantic jewels buried underground, yet only the reader can see that the two boys keep missing every bit of treasure. The interplay between the simple, almost dead-pan text and the exaggerated, comical illustrations is nothing short of brilliant. The result of these two narratives delights both kids and parents alike, and your little ones will undoubtedly shout gleeful commands to the title characters with each turn of the page. The story's grand finale is equal parts hilarious and open-ended... and the sum of all of these parts makes this Caldecott honor book nothing short of spectacular. This book, no pun intended, is a gem.
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