Ask The Author

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Jim Kay

When Sam and Dave fell through the earth, why did they land somewhere different?
Shadowing Group, Edgeborough - Shades of Green

I don't know if you like ghost stories, but Mac and I really like ghost stories. A lot of ghost stories end with something scary and unexplained happening. It could be that in a ghost story a man who is hitchhiking late at night gets a ride from a lady driving an old truck, and after she drops him off the man finds out that nobody has seen that lady or that truck in their town for 50 years because she died in a car crash on that same road way back then. The man hearing this is scared, wondering how it was he got a ride from that lady in the truck if she isn't alive anymore, but it would be the end of the story and you never find out why the lady came back or how. The end of the story leaves you with a mystery. In this way Sam & Dave Dig A Hole is kind of like a ghost story. You know that where they are isn't quite the same as home, but you don't how different, and you don't know why they landed there. But that shouldn't stop you from thinking about the answers to those questions on your own.

Which came first, the illustrations or the text?
Shadowing Group, Edgeborough - Shades of Green

They kind of came at the same time on this book, which doesn't happen very often. Mac and I came up with the idea for the book while we were having breakfast at a restaurant one morning and then once the idea was pretty well figured out, Mac went and wrote the text page by page. After that was done, we talked about what we could change about the text or what I could do in the illustrations to help the story, so the text was changing a lot right up until the end, although the overall story stayed pretty much the same throughout.

Why do the characters have no mouths?I think it's quirky and funny but did you deliberately draw them that way? If so, why?
Jessica, 14

I did deliberately draw them that way! The moments I chose to illustrate in the book are (most of the time) either before they are going to do something or after they did something. They are standing in kind of the same way on a lot of the pages, after they've stopped digging or when they are about to dig. Even on pages where the characters are talking, I don't really like to draw them with their mouths open because it's too specific a moment in time and it looks a little weird. I also don't like drawing things on characters that I'm not going to use somehow, so once it was decided that they weren't going to open their mouths I figured I didn't have to draw them at all. The other thing is, Sam and Dave and the dog say a lot with their eyes. Which way they are looking, how they are looking, it's important that you notice those things. The way I draw characters means you really only know how the characters are feeling by what their eyes are doing, and if i had a mouth in there it would one more thing to distract from that.

If you were Dave and you realised you'd missed all those diamonds how would you feel?
Daniel, 10

I would probably feel pretty unlucky, but Dave was trying his best to think of what would give them the best chance at finding things, so at least he wouldn't feel badly about that. Still, having diamonds would be pretty good.