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on 8 August 2005
Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes series is all about six year old Calvin and his tiger Hobbes. Hobbes may seem to be just some soft toy, but with Calvin he truly comes alive, and the two buddies hurtle through life together.
Anyone who has been six (so, all of us) will find this series well-observed, touching, and funny. In one strip, our heroes are just getting up to exactly the kind of highjinks we all got up to when we were young (adventures in the woods, building time machines using discarded packing cases, ...). But then on the next page, Calvin's six year old wisdom hits on an aspect of contemporary life, exposing it for the silliness that it is.
If you want to remember what it was like to be six, if you ever had an invisible friend or you talked to your teddy bear, if you were ever convinced there were monsters under your bed, or if you just want to laugh out loud, then BUY THIS!
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The essential Calvin and Hobbes is a large collection of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. Calvin is a mischievous, strangely perceptive, six-year old whose best friend is his teddy tiger called Hobbes. Hobbes is a stuffed teddy to everyone else, but to Calvin, Hobbes is very real. And once you've read any Calvin and Hobbes he'll be real to you to!
This is a lovely book, a good 2-3 hour read covering most of the best stories the genius Bill Watterson wrote. Amazing perceptive and funny at the same time. Some strips will have you laughing with tears, whilst others will make you look hard at your self and wonder. Childhood memories will flood back with every page you read, and good friends will become important once again. Maybe I get more from Calvin and Hobbes than most people, but to me, this is some of the wisest, funniest, charming cartoons strips I've ever read. (and I've read a lot).
The essential Calvin and Hobbes is a great buy, with 250 pages of cartoons to read. Strips are drawn from other treasuries and books, so if you own many of there books, this may not be for you. But if you just starting on your path to reading Calvin and Hobbes this is as good a start as any!
Simply magical!
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The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, first published in 1988, is chock full of early Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. No cartoonist, not even Charles Schultz, has captured the magical essence of childhood the way Bill Watterson did in this strip, and it should come as no surprise (although it did to Watterson) that Calvin and Hobbes quickly developed an incredibly loyal following. This strip went way beyond mere popularity. While I was in college, the campus newspaper decided to stop running Calvin and Hobbes (I think this was during one of Watterson's sabbaticals) - this resulted in nothing less than a furor on campus, as countless students immediately demanded the return of C&H. In a matter of days, Calvin and Hobbes were right back where they belonged.
How does a comic strip featuring a mischievous six-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger attract a fiercely loyal following of adults? Most adults would love to be children again, to know the freedom and sense of wonder that somehow withers inside the human soul after the onset of puberty. Calvin and Hobbes vividly recreates the feelings and emotions of the very essence of childhood. It brings back memories of things we forgot far too long ago, and it thus reawakens the deepest parts of our ever-hardening souls. Reading this comic strip is the next best thing to being a child yourself. Calvin does everything you used to do: he takes time to stomp in mud puddles, he lets his imagination run wild to make thrilling adventures out of even the most mundane tasks, he ponders the same deep questions you are now, as an adult, afraid to ask, he goes for the gusto no matter what sort of risk is involved, he is in every way a perfect specimen of childhood. Who, as a child, didn't pretend to be a dinosaur, walk around with a hideous expression in hopes of your facing freezing that way, tease the girls (or boys) you claimed to hate, journey to distant worlds unseen by human eyes, etc.?
Of course, Hobbes is just as important to the comic strip as Calvin. Hobbes is a tiger, Calvin's best and constant friend, a fellow partaker in the joys of childish innocence. To Calvin, Hobbes really is all that, and that is how we see him as well - until, that is, someone else comes into the frame, when he suddenly becomes nothing more than a stuffed animal. Watterson is a fantastic comic artist, and there is just something captivating about the way he draws Hobbes in his stuffed animal form. Everything about Watterson's art is fantastic, though, particularly the way it captures the emotions of its two principal characters.
Sadly, we have only ten years of comic memories in the form of Calvin and Hobbes, as the inscrutable Bill Watterson retired (around the age of 37) in 1995 and quite obviously has no plans of returning to the public arena. Watterson is actually frighteningly private and seems to be living a life of unmatched solitude. I find this extraordinarily sad: here is a man who captured the essence of childhood so vividly in the form of Calvin and Hobbes, a world bursting with life and possibilities, yet now he seems to have withdrawn from life itself. We must be thankful we do have as much Calvin and Hobbes material as we do, and The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, with 255 pages of black and white daily strips and color Sunday strips, features much more than just a chunk of it in and of itself.
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And so it began.

This treasury included the strips from the first two collections of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. And if you don't know what you have been missing, you are in for a treat.

The comic strip follows the misadventures of Calvin, a highly imaginative, hyperactive six year old. How imaginative? His only real friend is Hobbes, his stuff tiger. But that isn't a problem because Hobbes is really a real tiger, at least in Calvin's mind.

Since this is the first book, things are still being established. But many of the strips staples are here already. We meet Calvin's parents, teacher Miss Wormwood, neighbor Susie Derkins, and bully Moe. We even get the first couple of run ins with babysitter Rosalyn. While we don't get the hilarious social satire that would show up later, we do get some comments on the environment and Calvin's obsession with polls. (He is constantly trying to get his dad to bend to political pressure by showing his standings with household six year olds and tigers.) And we get plenty of adventures from Spaceman Spiff, Calvin's imagination again as he tries to deal with the various aliens in his life like his parents or teacher.

I tend to read the later books more often, so I had forgotten just how go the early strips are until I picked this up. There are so true classics here, most of the time at Calvin's six year old nature. Not that I'd want my kids getting any ideas from Calvin. He doesn't see anything wrong with pounding nails into coffee tables or popping popcorn without the lid on the pot.

And that does bring up the only possible flaw with the book. These strips originally appeared in 1985-1987, so at times they are a little dated. Calvin makes reference to renting a VCR or wanting to get cable. But that doesn't bother me in the slightest.

This "treasury" collects the strips from the first two books. As a bonus, there is a story told in poem form at the beginning and the Sunday strips are in color. If you have the two books, you probably don't need this one. But if you don't have them, this is the way to go.

The day this strip ended was a sad day indeed. But thanks to books like this one, we can relive it over and over again.
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I have seen these cartoons in newspapers over the years but seeing them collected in one volume allows you to get to know Calvin and Hobbes and their circle very well.

I have had a wonderful time going through these cartoons and have found the experience quite addictive. Until recently, I had not realised that the Calvin's name was derived from the Protestant reformer, Jean Calvin and Hobbes's name from the English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes. Whether you can see them reflecting their namesakes' philosophies in the strips is debatable but you are aware from their conversations that Bill Watterson is of a philosophical bent. It is also very funny and beautifully observed.

Calvin has an amazing imagination and he gets into lots of scrapes through exercising it. He is also highly articulate - far more than most 6 year olds. Hobbes is clearly a figment of his imagination and he endows him with a full 3 dimensional personality. It is a tribute to the cartoonist's skill that when Hobbes is seen by anyone except Calvin, he reverts to a featureless (but cute) stuffed animal.

The other characters are also interesting. As a parent, I find Calvin's dad easy to relate to; I don't think he often gets the better of his son though.

I am excited to learn that this book represents the first strips and that subsequent books contain later work. I am definitely going to explore other books of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons.
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on 6 November 2003
This Calvin & Hobbes book is so funny as many of them are. Every time I read this it is so funny I laugh out loud. Many Calvin & Hobbes books are very funny but this one is so long it took me a long time to read. Most of the others I can read very quickly. I found this book so, so funny I bought loads more. I am trying to collect all of the Calvin & Hobbes books I can get because it is so good. This is a must buy!!! I suggest you get a smaller Calvin & Hobbes book & see if you like it first. If you do buy this!!!
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on 21 November 2014
I love Calvin and Hobbes and this one was great. It's the innocence and risk taking that you remember as a child that he has and with his lovable friend, they get up to and into everything! I recommend to all ages, young and old, Calvin and Hobbes will entertain you all! Just thinking of the images can have you laughing and of course the writing is number one.
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on 9 January 2015
I sometimes work as a baby sitter so I got this for one of the 9 year olds I look after. She was instantly glued to it! Calvin and Hobbes have been a recent discovery for me as I never came across the comics growing up. I absolutely love it and I am happy that I can now pass it on to the younger generations!
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on 5 December 2011
Highly enjoyable book, suitable for all ages. i bought this book at a low price, and after getting through it i now feel i would have paid much more for it. i am in my late teens and very much enjoyed it. i would recommend it to anyone for a good laugh and an entertaining read.
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on 10 August 2013
What more can you say about the dynamic duo? I'd buy them all if I had the space. I've got more people into C&H through them just picking up this book in the house than Zargs I can count exterminated by the great Spiffmiester himself!
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