When Luke was really into Harry Potter, a favorite book of his was J.K. Rowling's fundraising book, Quidditch Through the Ages. One night, he told me that his favorite quidditch team is the Falmouth Falcons, because their motto is "Let us win, but if we cannot win, let us break a few heads." He mispronounced motto (calling it mow-tow) and as I corrected him, I asked, how did he even knew what a motto was?
His answer, so casually related, still fascinates me: "Oh," Luke said, "from Calvin and Hobbes." He then described a favorite comic strip in which Calvin and Hobbes have a huge fight in Calvin's bed; at the end, Hobbes says to Calvin, "my mow-tow is, Revenge or Death!"
Imagine grasping the concept of a motto before you can even pronounce the word.
Another comic-related story that stopped me in my tracks was more recent. We get this totally awesome left-wing newspaper of comics and articles (Dave Barry, Garrison Keillor) called the Funny Times, and in a recent issue was the following: a one-panel comic of a huge, globe-shaped birdcage and inside it, swinging on the canary swing, sat a little polar bear. Luke didn't get it - until I asked him if he knew what the saying 'canary in a coal mine' meant. Watching the light dawn on your child's face is so cool! - he said, "ohhh yeah, the polar bear is the canary of the world!"
When I think of the knowledge that went in to the light dawning in Luke's mind, I am amazed. He had to know about the polar bear's endangerment, that the cause is global warming (yes, I really, really believe that - and if you don't, you ought to watch the Planet Earth about the Poles), and that people used to use canaries to see if there was breathable air before going underground themselves.
I think Luke's ability to draw from different sources will serve him extremely well as he moves through life. Also, it amazes me that, at age 7, he can mentally fit things together with connections that I may not even see at the ripe old age of 37.
It sure justifies all the time he spends reading the comics!