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Monday, October 13, 2014

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $19.00 ages 4 and up

"When should we stop
digging?" asked Sam.

"We are on a mission,"
said Dave.

"We won't stop digging
until we find something

To complete today's trifecta of stunning new picture books, I want to tell you about the newest collaboration from this stellar team. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is a wonder, and sure to spawn conversation and repeated readings.

Lucky we are to get so much more than the two boys get in their quest to find something 'spectacular'! Their story begins with an apple tree, placed carefully in front matter and then shown again on the title page, as the boys set out on a new adventure. Their dog accompanies them while the cat watches furtively from the porch step. It's Monday, and the two have a plan.

The digging is tedious, and slow going. But, Dave reminds that they are 'on a mission.' Deepening the hole results in no great discovery. As we in the listening audience look on, we can see just how close they are to success. Their dog seems to sense it, too. They just keep digging! Determined in their quest, they have no idea how close they come before they veer off in another direction. Can you hear your young listeners giving unscripted advice to where they should be looking?

When they run out of food and drink, they make the decision to rest. Luckily, that resting spot is very close to 'something spectacular' for their intrepid companion. While they sleep, he digs down and unwittingly causes a rupture in the ground beneath them. They all take a tumble down, down, down...back to where they started. Or is it?

Full of wry humor, and accompanied by mischievous artwork in the restrained color palette we have come to expect from Jon Klassen, this lively new book is sure to attract the attention of the Caldecott committee...again!

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