Something Spectacular

SAM & DAVE DIG A HOLE sam-and-dave-372x500

By: Mac Barnett Illustrated By: Jon Klassen

Genre: Fiction – Children’s Literature

Published: Candlewick Press – Somerville MA, October 14th, 2014

Awards: Caldecott Honor Book – 2015

Themes: Although a short story dedicated to young readers, the story explores themes such as  adventure, desire, determination, and learning to accept the unexpected.

Summary: Sam and Dave set out to find “something spectacular” one day, and they believe that digging a hole will help them achieve just that. The two, along with their dog, dig and dig and dig tying to just find something. The pictures in the book tell us that they are getting closer and closer to their goal, but every time you think they will fins that spectacular something, they dig the other way! Eventually, they find something spectacular at the end, that was completely unexpected.

Response: Describe the setting. Was the setting essential to the plot of the book? Explain why or why not.

The setting in this book, as depicted by the illustrations are the cornerstone in understanding the message and wit that the author is trying to give the readers. The setting, as one my think, is simply of Sam and Dave digging a hole. Therefore, they are in the dirt, digging deeper and deeper into the ground. As they search for “something spectacular” the setting begins to change and the reader is able to see those spectacular things while Sam and Dave can not. As you continue reading, you believe that Sam and Dave will finally find that spectacular something – but they keep changing paths, missing all things spectacular. The entire premise of the short story is to engage readers in hope that Sam and Dave will find something great. The setting keeps the readers on the edge, questioning if they will ever find the spectacular. As the story closes, and as the setting continues to develop the central theme is revealed – learning to accept that unexpected.


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