Cartoonist Bill Watterson was notoriously averse to merchandising his wildly successful comic, Calvin And Hobbes. He wasn’t interested in saturating the market with Calvin key chains or stuffed Hobbes dolls. He wouldn’t even approve animated specials based on his comic strip. And so, apart from books containing reprints of the original strips, official Calvin And Hobbes merchandise is virtually nonexistent today. (Bootleg merch, on the other hand, is distressingly commonplace.) That’s what makes the obscure 1993 textbook Teaching With Calvin And Hobbes such a rare and precious commodity. Created by a speech language pathologist and a learning disabilities educator, the elementary-level book incorporates 57 of Watterson’s strips into various lessons like “The Bug Collector” and “The Christmas Story.”
It’s pretty much the only example of Watterson licensing his characters for anything, and die-hard fans are desperate to get a copy. But since those can run up to $34,000 and are nearly impossible to find anyway, most Calvin addicts will have to content themselves with a blog called Teaching With Calvin And Hobbes: Tracking The Book. Here, readers can at least see what this much-sought volume looks like. The blog contains numerous photos of the contents. As these pictures reveal, Teaching is a simple, black-and-white, educational paperback. The Watterson strips have all appeared elsewhere. The book does contain original artwork, including the cover illustration, but this is by Jan Roebken.
Those hoping to find a copy of Teaching With Calvin And Hobbes in the wild are advised to stop their search right now. Supposedly, only eight libraries in the world have copies. And three of those are in North Dakota, the state where the book was originally published 23 years ago. The Library Of Congress has a copy, however, which could one day be the inspiration for a heist film.