Childhood chores are no longer a bore in Daniel and David Kamish's new book, Diggy Dan: A room-cleaning adventure. This, the second entertaining title if you haven't already, you've got to see The Night Scary Beasties Popped Out of My Head from father and son team, David (Dad) and Daniel (age 9) Kamish, is pulled straight from a child's mind, specifically Daniel's. While Dad David gets credit for writing the stories, it's little Daniel who draws the incredibly intricate and original illustrations and thinks up ideas for the stories. And with this book, we even see the debut of Mikaela (age 4), Daniel's little sister, who has joined the family business by drawing some of the animals and backgrounds for her big brother.
Diggy Dan: A room-cleaning adventure stars too-cool-for-words Diggy Dan, who faces everyday childhood challenges with humor, spunk and a vivid imagination. With creativity reminiscent of Maurice Sendak's Max in the classic Where the Wild Things Are, little Diggie Dan turns the agonizing task of tackling the monumental mess in his room into a fantastical feat.
After being caught trying to sneak out of the house to play on a Saturday morning, Diggie Dan gives his mother a bit of sass. Not a good move. Diggie Dan is then banished to his room, where the only way out is to (aargh!) clean.
But Diggie Dan isn't your everyday sprucer-upper, putting toys and clothes away in an orderly fashion. Instead, he's a resourceful, inventive tike who proves that even dull chores like straightening up can be an exciting odyssey. Diggie Dan uses his mess and the constant reprimands from his mother as the inspiration for his fantasies. He becomes an archaeologist, an astronaut, a rock star and a four-star general, among many other creative roles, all the while, experiencing exciting adventures in room grooming.
Brilliantly illustrated and insightfully written, Diggy Dan: A room-cleaning adventure is a true peek into the imaginative world of a child and a glimpse at the fantasies that even a little bit of make-believe can inspire. Not to mention, a clever reminder to parents that even the dullest, grown-up chores can be made into fun adventures, too.
Heidi Henneman is a freelance writer in New York City.