I really miss the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes. I loved opening the paper each morning (yes, that dates me) and catching a magical glimpse into the mind of a creative—if occasionally gruesome—child. I think I miss him most in the winter, when I recall Calvin’s memorable snow creatures. In case you don’t remember, here are some of some of them, as presented by Jim Frommeyer in “A Very Calvin and Hobbes Christmas.”
Surely, Calvin can inspire those of us in snowy places to go beyond the three-sphere pattern of the traditional snowman. And if we don’t have snow, I’ll bet sand would do. We could create real-world Calvin reproductions (warning: some of these are a bit gory but very Calvinesque) or, better yet, invent some of our own. Calvin delighted in inventing terrible dilemmas his snow creations could get into. How might a snow-teen look when stumped at a video game, or a snow parent deal with late children and a melting meal?
Or think through new eyes. Calvin gives us a glimpse into the concerns of a young boy. What about thinking about the kinds of snow sculpture Huckleberry Finn might make? What would interest him? Why? Can you imagine Elizabeth Bennet building a snow sculpture? What would it look like? What about a character from whatever your students are reading? I’ll admit, “Design and justify a snow sculpture based on X’s view of the world” is an unusual assignment, but if you are teaching about point of view, why not? We’d love to see the results.
My 6th-grade son is reading “Al Capone Does My Shirts”. He said the main character Moose, would probably create a snowman of Al Capone shooting him. Moose is afraid of all the bad guys in Alcatraz. He might have a whole yard of snow prisoners that were attacking him.
My 3rd-grad son is reading The Museum of Thieves. The main character Golden Roth, a young girl was taught to drive away fear. She’s afraid of Guardian Hope. He said Golden Roth would probably create a snow man of herself fending off Guardian Hope and the museum that Golden Roth is trying to protect. So there would be snow characters made up of museum artifacts and the evil Guardian Hope.
This was an eye opening question you asked. My oldest son thought long and hard about how some graphic depictions by kids aren’t always meant to be what the kid ‘wants to have happen’ but rather how it is a concern to the kid. Creativity is not always a display of what the creator wants, that’s a big lesson to learn.
What a wise comment from your son. It is one of the things I love about open ended questions. You never know when they’ll lead to insights you don’t anticipate–so often more important than the ones you did.
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