The final day of Summer Reading is here, what a shame. Well I battled my bookshelf in search of the one perfect book to end Summer Reading on and you know what? I couldn’t settle on one! No, I’m not going to stuff this review with tons of different books, but rather all the books of one incredible series. Each one of these books I guarantee complete satisfaction for anyone and anywhere no matter how old or young.
With the title and that image on the left you know it’s about Calvin and Hobbes. But I’m not using just one Calvin and Hobbes book. I’m recommending every Calvin and Hobbes book there is currently in print.
First a list, to let you know all of the books you can get:
Calvin and Hobbes
Something Under the Bed is Drooling (My first book)
The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book
Weirdos from Another Planet
The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes
The Revenge of the Baby-Sat
Scientific Progress goes “Boink”
Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons
The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
The Days are Just Packed
Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat
Calvin and Hobbes: The Tenth Anniversary Book
There’s Treasure Everywhere
It’s a Magical World
Calvin and Hobbes Sunday Pages 1985-1995
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
Now, I can assume that at least a majority of comic readers in America have at least heard of Calvin and Hobbes or read one of the newspaper comic strips in the past. But if not, I’ll give you a quick rundown of this series before I go into the full review.
Calvin is an imaginative little boy who lives on the edge of a city near a big forest with his mother and father. One day he gets a tuna sandwich and leaves it as bait for a tiger trap. A tiger falls for it and is caught, his name is Hobbes and Calvin takes him home. Shortly after this, we find out that Hobbes is really a doll, though we never know just how Calvin found him.
After this Calvin and Hobbes become best friends and they have their own wild adventures. Sometimes it is just Calvin in his head as a super hero or space hero. Other times it is Calvin and Hobbes fighting evil Snow Goons.
The rest of the world sees Hobbes as a stuffed animal, but Calvin sees Hobbes as a real live tiger. People have analyzed this to death as to what it means. I say just live with the fact that there are 2 different perspectives in this series.
So that’s the gist of it, though really that just scratches the surface as far as plot, moments and characters. I could spend all day just doing a full on epic 10 page synopsis, but that would take all the fun out of you all getting to read it yourself.
I’m going to simply point out what is so great about this series and then let you discover the magic on your own. And this truly is a magical series that can never be matched by anything else. Yes, to me, this is the greatest comic of all time.
Some may say this is not a great series to just read in the summer. I admit it, you could read any book at any time of the year and it would fit well. It’s just that good. Even the Christmas stories don’t feel out of place as just a few pages later there will no doubt be some hilarious joke taking place during spring. The characters are all great, but Calvin is the best and Hobbes nearly tying.
Some strips are simple and fun easy jokes. Whereas others are lengthy observations on the world. The latter is typically in the Sunday strips which take up a whole page of their own. Watterson never dumbs down the series for the sake of stupid entertainment. Sure we have lots of goofy moments, but it never feels like Watterson is trying to be stupid. Many of the best jokes are the most intelligent ones.
It is this balance between silly and intelligent that helps make this series so great. It never feels that it has to appeal to one audience. Calvin and Hobbes’ demographic is so wide that anyone from a 5 year old to a 100 year old could enjoy the fun and entertaining stories in each book.
While there may never be a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, memorabilia or action figures; all we really need are these incredible stories.
There’s a little bit of something for everything. For Sci-Fi guys there is Spiff the Spaceman. For the super hero people there is Calvin’s caped crusader like character. For social commentators there are Calvin’s jokes on society and even some political jabs at the idea of Calvin’s father being elected and having polls. It’s all crazy fun and great.
Really, the only reason I can say you may not like Calvin and Hobbes is if you just do not like to have fun. If you are overly serious person then Calvin and Hobbes is not for you.
However, for everyone else, I would recommend Calvin and Hobbes. This series is a consistently good read with every turn of the page. Any book is a fine selection. I have most of the books in this series. I can honestly say that each book is well worth the cover price and should not be missed out on.