How to Read Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (HINT: Don't Be Like Me)

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is as complex as it is enjoyable. And, with the long list of awards and special recognitions it has received since its publication in 2014, you can be sure it is plenty of both.

There is so much to dissect about this fantastic book. (The 100 Scope Notes blog even has a post detailing six far-out theories about its trippy ending.) So, I’m going to skip right to this: When I read this book with my kids for the first time, I totally screwed up. I was so excited to read it, that I just opened it up and started in. Here is what I wish I had done instead:


Click to enlarge


The thing with Sam and Dave is that the words and the pictures tell two different stories. The fun is in the intersection of the two—that is how we understand the plot, the four characters (don’t forget the cat and dog!), and the book’s lessons. If I had it to do over again, I would read the book aloud but hide the pictures the first time through. The anticipation would bring my kids very close to death, sure, but the big reveal on the second read would be worth it.


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is a wonderful companion text for Beyond the Pond  by Joseph Kuefler. Click here to read my review of Beyond the Pond.

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