Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes

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Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes
Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes
A rare and valuable book.
Author Linda Holmen, Mary Santella-Johnson, Bill Watterson
Illustrator Jan Roebken, Bill Watterson
Cover artist Jan Roebken
Country United States
Language English
Subject Speech and language pathology
Genre Children's textbook
Publisher Playground Publishing
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 200
ISBN 1-878849-15-8
OCLC 29340469

Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes is an American children's textbook published in 1993. As a rare piece of officially licensed Calvin and Hobbes merchandise, it is a highly valued collectible.


Written by a speech-language pathologist and a learning disabilities educator, Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes is a language textbook for elementary and intermediate-level students.[1][2] Jan Roebken created the cover and additional interior illustrations.[1]

The book reprints fifty-seven Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, organized into five lesson units. Each unit begins with a series of comic strips that form a story. The five units are:

  1. "The Binoculars" – Calvin breaks his father's binoculars and solicits Hobbes' advice. (Originally appeared: 5/16-21;23-26/'88)
  2. "The Find" – Calvin discovers and assembles a dinosaur skeleton, of sorts. Hobbes renders a drawing of the creature. (O.A: 5/2-7;9-12/'88)
  3. "The Christmas Story" – As Calvin struggles to be good in anticipation of Santa's arrival, he and Hobbes discuss the philosophy of law and the nature of belief.
  4. "The Bug Collection" – Calvin forgets to do his homework, and rushes to complete it on the way to school. Susie gets sent to the principal's office. (O.A: 3/20-25;27- 4/1;4/3-7/'89)
  5. "The Report" – Calvin and Susie are assigned a joint homework project. (O.A: 1/25-30;2/1-4/'88)

In each unit, questions for comprehension and discussion follow the comic strips:

  • Do you think Calvin's mother should have told Calvin the truth about his dinosaur? Why or why not? [...]
  • Imagining and creating are important and fun, but, when it goes too far, it's time to get back to reality. Do you think Calvin was disappointed when his mother brought him back to reality or do you think he always had an inkling that he was having fun with his imagination?
  • Can you think of a time when you were imagining or creating and your mom or dad brought you back to reality?
  • Were you disappointed to get back to reality?[1]

In both the 1996 first edition and the 2006 second edition of their book How To Reach and Teach All Children in the Inclusive Classroom, teachers Sandra F. Rief and Julie A. Heimburge "highly recommend" Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes as an educational resource.[3][4]


Owing to Bill Watterson's principled refusal to license his comic strip for merchandise in general,[5][6] Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes is an exceptional item; a license was granted to the authors after they personally communicated to Watterson the success they had using his comic strip to teach children with learning disabilities.[1][7]

Published in a limited print run in Fargo, North Dakota,[1] Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes is a very rare and highly sought-after book.[8][9]

In the 2010 revised edition of his book Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip, Nevin Martell says that only after a long search did he obtain a copy of Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes, that copies of the book sell for very high prices, and that the book is "perhaps the most difficult piece of official Calvin and Hobbes memorabilia to find."[10]

The book price comparison website Dualj.com, which tracked sale prices of books, recorded that a copy of Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes sold in 2009 for US$10,000.[11][12]

WorldCat lists only twelve libraries in the entire world as holding a copy of the book.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e Holmen, Linda; Santella-Johnson, Mary; Watterson, Bill (1993). Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes. Cover and supplementary art by Jan Roebken. Fargo, North Dakota: Playground Publishing. ISBN 1-878849-15-8. Lay summary (2004). 
  2. ^ "Reading with Calvin" (JPG). Minot Daily News (Minot, North Dakota). 1993-11-16. p. 1. Retrieved 2011-12-26. [Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes] is for teaching reading to students in grades four to nine. Holmen and Santella-Johnson began using the cartoon characters with children who have learning disabilities and language disorders. They found the students identified with Calvin, Holmen said. 
  3. ^ Rief, Sandra F.; Heimburge, Julie A. (1996). How To Reach & Teach All Students in the Inclusive Classroom: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Lessons and Activities for Teaching Students with Diverse Learning Needs (1st ed.). Jossey-Bass. p. 268. ISBN 978-0-87628-399-8. There is a wonderful book called Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes by Mary Santella-Johnson and Linda Holmen that we highly recommend. 
  4. ^ Rief, Sandra F.; Heimburge, Julie A. (2006). How To Reach and Teach All Children in the Inclusive Classroom: Practical Strategies, Lessons, and Activities (2nd ed.). Jossey-Bass. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-7879-8154-9. We highly recommend a wonderful book, Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes... 
  5. ^ Watterson, Bill (1989-10-27). What We Expect of the Comics (The Cheapening of the Comics). The 1989 Festival of Cartoon Art. Retrieved 2011-12-26. Characters lose their believability as they start endorsing major companies and lend their faces to bedsheets and boxer shorts. The appealing innocence and sincerity of cartoon characters is corrupted when they use those qualities to peddle products. 
  6. ^ Watterson, Bill (1995). The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 10–12. ISBN 978-0-8362-0438-4. ...I don't want some greeting card company using Calvin to wish people a happy anniversary... 
  7. ^ Hulsizer, Tim. "A Concise Guide To All Legal Calvin and Hobbes Items". Calvin and Hobbes: Magic on Paper. Retrieved 2011-12-26. Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes: This is a teaching book licensed specially by the syndicate and Bill Watterson. 
  8. ^ Grzegorek, Vince; Ferris, D.X. (2010-08-31). "Expanded Book Chronicles Search for Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes Creator". Scene and Heard: Cleveland Scene's News Blog. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 2011-12-26. ...the über-rare Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes... 
  9. ^ Murphy, David (2011-04-23). "Amazon Algorithm Price War Leads to $23.6-Million-Dollar Book Listing". PC Magazine. New York, New York: Ziff Davis. Retrieved 2011-12-26. ...you're trying to hunt down that elusive, rare edition of Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes? 
  10. ^ Martell, Nevin (2010). Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip (Revised ed.). Continuum Books. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-4411-0685-8. 
  11. ^ "Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes: Book Price Comparison History". Dualj.com. 2010-05-20. Archived from the original on 2011-04-23. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  12. ^ "Book Price Comparison History is posted at Dualj". Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes: Information About the Book. 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  13. ^ "Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes: Find a copy in the library". WorldCat. Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 

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