In search of something spectacular

In the hurly-burly that is Ankle biter 1 at play, there really is a significant amount of concentration involved. Although it’s more like a cycle of concentration/frustration. Nevertheless, I’ve watched Ankle biter 1 hunt for the perfect stick (fyi, they are not all the same). Goldilocks and the Three bears must have been inspired by watching children select sticks. Anyways once Ankle biter 1 decides upon the chosen ONE (or two or three), watch him meander. He drags the stick here and taps it there. He stops and sticks it in the mud and waits and waits (as the audibility of my shoulders slumping becomes deafening)… City living often gets a bad rap for being too fast-paced. And yes, my husband and I used to joke that sometimes we got our ‘city walk on.’ But leave it to children to set the pace, and whether city, suburban or rural, it is slow/fast.

So with this emphasis on respecting the movement of childhood, I am happy to share this week’s book Sam & Dave Dig a Hole. The duo of author Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen are at it again. Here, Sam & Dave pack some chocolate milk and some animal biscuits for an adventurous day of digging.

We won’t stop digging until we find something spectacular.

Dig, they do. They dig down, dig up, dig across. They dig unknowingly proximate to diamond treasures. But still, they find nothing. They take a nap and with the assistance of their dog’s curiosity they stumble upon something spectacular. The tale is told in deadpan simplicity with muted illustrations. Don’t mistake the simplicity for boring. Rather there is much to see in-between and readers can narrate their own ending(s).

Ankle biter 1 loved the digging. DIG DIG DIG through the MUUUUUUUDDDDDDDDD. He was chomping at the bits to get outside after reading to find his own spectacular. I loved the fact that this book made me take pause. As an adult, I kept thinking, oh Sam, oh Dave you are on the brink of a spectacular find. But who is to say that the diamonds would be spectacular to them? And *spolier alert* they weren’t. Play is truly in the eye of the beholder and honestly, we all need to play just a little bit more for play’s spectacular sake.

[Image by: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole — Mac Barnett]

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Vivian Romero

I want to activate the urban imagined: stimulating, healthy and sustainable spaces for all (especially the young and young at heart).

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