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Children's Fiction Self-esteem & Self-reliance

The Deepest Dig

by (author) Mark David Smith

illustrated by Lily Snowden-Fine

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Aug 2021
Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: 2 to 12


Inspired by a true story! A tenacious kid digs deep and makes important discoveries

After a heavy rain exposes a bit of something in his backyard, Caden resolves to dig the treasure up and find out exactly what it is. He tries to enlist the help of his parents and teacher, who are dismissive and disbelieving—but that doesn’t deter Caden from his goal.

Caden’s next-door neighbor, Martha, is the only adult who encourages him to keep digging. Working together, they unearth Caden’s discovery: the giant bones of a prehistoric woolly mammoth! After comically misassembling the massive skeleton, Caden attracts everyone’s attention with his discovery—and finds another treasure in bringing his family together.

Rich yet simple illustrations accompany this funny, kid-empowering story that celebrates scientific inquiry and is based on a true discovery.

About the authors

MARK DAVID SMITH has dug many holes but usually unearths rocks, roots, or underground creatures that prefer to be left alone. He is a teacher and writer living in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, with his family, whom he treasures. The Deepest Dig, which was inspired by the discovery of a mammoth skeleton on a Michigan farm, is his first picture book.


Mark David Smith's profile page

Lily Snowden-Fine is an illustrator and multi-disciplinary artist living in Vancouver. Since studying at the Ontario College of Art and Design, she has illustrated two children’s books for Thames and Hudson Publishing, as well as illustrated for such clients as the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, Soho House London, the National Film Board of Canada, and Hornet Animation. Her upcoming projects include a third in the series for Thames and Hudson, and a children’s book for Penguin Random House.

Lily Snowden-Fine's profile page


  • Commended, TD Summer Reading Club Top Recommended Read
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens

Editorial Reviews

"The Deepest Dig encourages children to dig deep, whether it's into their curiosity, science, research or any passion."

CanLit for Little Canadians

"An excellent addition to any library, especially for young (or older) people interested in paleontology. For those who aren’t, it will get them interested in what is going on in their own backyards."

Canadian Review of Materials

"The sparely told tale, inspired by a similar actual discovery, may in turn inspire young readers to take closer looks at their own supposedly familiar surroundings."

Kirkus Reviews

"Clever and colorful illustrations ... add considerable charm to the story. [The narrative] teeters between the believable and the fantastic."

School Library Journal

Other titles by Mark David Smith

Other titles by Lily Snowden-Fine