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.