Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Publisher’s Summary:
Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary–and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

Primary Source Pairing:
Sam and Dave dig a hole and shockingly miss each and every spectacular gem. The gems in this book often spark the interest of readers. Pair Sam and Dave Dig a Hole with nonfiction books about gems and crystals.

For the primary source pairing, introduce students to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness created by German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812. This scale ranks the hardness of minerals by their ability to be scratched by another mineral. For more information visit the Wikipedia page about the Mohs scale.

Speaking of gems, there is also a gem of an opportunity in this book to be slow viewers of the text and compare the differences in the illustrations before and after the boys fall through their hole. Invite students to be slow viewers of the images and find how the world has changed, ever so slightly. And keep your eyes on that cat! (pages: title page and second to last two-page spread)

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • How is the text and other information arranged on the page?
  • What was the purpose of this text?
  • Who do you think is the audience for this text?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Mohs Hardness Scale: National Park Service

Additional online resource: Gemkids on the Gemological Institute of America Inc. website