My seven year old, a second-grader, is a mover and a shaker. Oh, sure, he likes his art projects and his Legos, but most sedentary activities are not high on his list of priorities. Our water bill and the miniature canyons in the flower beds ("Mom! I made a river!") give evidence of the elaborate engineering projects that he favors over homework during the after-school hours. (I am considering getting a rain barrel, so that he will have his own reservoir of cost-free h2O.)
One homework requirement is 15 minutes of reading each day at home. After his waterways experiments, Junior enjoyed reading picture books, particularly with his dad or me or his grandmothers, but he was not a bookworm. Until Calvin & Hobbes. I remembered a mention of Bill Watterson's comic-strips about the boy and his toy tiger; Camille, over at the blog Boot Moot, recommended them some time back. ("It continually amazes me that guys and girls cannot remember their multiplication tables but can recite entire pages of Calvin & Hobbes dialog and strips from memory.")
I found a C & H compilation at Junior's school library and left it out for him stumble upon. (To judge from its raggedy cover, I see it's one of the school's more well-loved volumes.) Upon discovery of this treasure, Junior sat down and read for an hour and a half. He'd seen and liked the comic before, but he really claimed this one as his own. Although I kept my elation to myself, I was thrilled that he found something he loved enough to read independently. An hour and a half: I almost fainted. Anyway.
Camille's recommendation, part of a post called "Books That Guys Love," is something that I wouldn't have found in the book review section of a newspaper. After all, Watterson stopped writing the comic almost twelve years ago. Book review sections consider new titles—ones that adult reviewers think will appeal (or not) to children. I understand that; it's what I do in my reviews of new books, too. Camille, a school librarian, knows which books get checked out over and over; children talk to her about what they like and don't like. That valuable perspective is one of the many ways in which blog reviews supplement reviews in the mainstream media. I am grateful—and so is the local bookstore. After discovering such a great book, Junior needed a copy of his own, of course.