This entry is part 3 of 14 in the series Chazda Bookshelf

I knew this book was going to be good, but it really surpassed my expectations - because it’s awesome. In the most directly plot-driven way, this story gets going straight off, inviting kids to notice what the two main characters do not.

I’m betting that Sam and Dave Dig A Hole is going to be a classic book, one that is still in print long after my hair has gone compeletely gray. Here’s why.

Sam and Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is going to be renowned as a classic. It was released October 2014 (just in time for the Christmas season), and is among the American-language books I requested my local library order. They did.

A Book That Prompts Questions, Inspires Curiosity

This is a fantastic read with a surprise ending that will have kids wondering, “What does it all mean?” for quite some time. There aren’t many storybooks that can successfully do this.

Most often, this type of ending leads only to confusion and arguments between kids. In the particular case of Sam and Dave, it’s more like a real discussion that takes place.

Sam and Dave

I love too that once the story is concluded with this mysterious ending, the kids want to flip back and forth between pages to make comparisons. “What is different?”

Sam and Dave BookThis is a very clever way to prompt curiosity and a deeper sense of how cool it is to observe things, to see that things are not always what they seem, that you should never take anything for granted, that you must be alert and look.

I really didn’t expect to like this book as much as Extra Yarn, which is a tough act to follow, even for this very talented and capable duo. (Names to learn: Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.)

And I didn’t like it as much - I love this book.

It’s the type of book kids beg you to re-read to them as soon as you’ve finished it.

I’ve been reading Barnett books and Klassen books for quite some time, but Sam and Dave Dig a Hole has made me a die-hard fan of theirs. I’m just really impressed.

If you want to know how to write a story that is perfectly balanced and paced with the artwork, you must get this book and study it. If it doesn’t garner all kinds of awards by the end of the year, I will be shocked.

[Editorial Note, 2017: I did a little checking and have added below a list of awards the book has won so far.]

List of Awards for Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

  • Winner of the Caldecott Honor
  • Winner of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award
  • Winner of the Irma Black Award
  • Winner of the Wanda Gág Read Aloud Book Award
  • A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2014
  • A PBS Best Picture Book of 2014
  • A Guardian Best Book of 2014
  • A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of 2014
  • A Kirkus Best Book of 2014
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014
  • A Globe & Mail 100 Best Books of 2014 Selection
  • A Huffington Post Best Picture Book of 2014
  • A BuzzFeed Best Picture Book of 2014
  • An Association for Library Service to Children Notables Selection
  • A Toronto Public Library First & Best Book of 2014
  • A Reading Today Best Picture Book of 2014
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection

Keep creating (and reading), no matter what.


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This entry is part of the series
Chazda Bookshelf
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Chazda Albright

Chazda Albright

L. K. Chazda Albright is the co-founder of Great Storybook and does so with a passion for writing and illustrating stories and getting to know other creative people. Come and get to know her! Chazda is currently developing several projects, including an urban fantasy MG novel, a new musical production for kids about Polemics, and a book marketing checklist for authors.
Chazda Albright