Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a twelve-year old boy genius. He is a cartographer. He also dabbles in zoology, geology and entomology. T.S. as he is called, lives on a Montana ranch with his father Tecumseh Elijah, who is a rancher, his mother Dr. Clair, who is a coleopterist and Gracie, his sixteen-year old normal, average teenage sister. Verywell the dog rounds out the family.
I first wrote about T.S. here at Rothacker Reviews a couple of years ago. Reif Larsen's The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet parallels Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as one of my most favorite works of fiction.
T.S. uses notebooks like Babe Ruth used baseball bats. Not only does T.S. map out territories he also maps novels, the flight of bats and how his father drinks whiskey. His extensive notebooking reminds one of Leonardo da Vinci with one exception: T.S. is more organized.
Page 3 of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. Here T.S. shows us a map of where he lives, a diagram of his bedroom noting where he stores his notebooks and one of a sparrow's skeleton. He also explains his notebooking system.
The most famous and popular part of the Field Notes brand is the 3-1/2" X 5-1/2" memo book. Although author Reif Larson has his own thoughts on how T.S. 'notebooks,' I envision the lad using the Field Notes memo books while out in the field. Then when he gets back home to his drafting table, he transcribes and expands upon his thoughts in the appropriate notebook from one of his three collections.
To me, T.S. Spivet is pure imagination. Like a brand, T.S. his approach to the world and his adventures make me feel a certain way: inspired to do stuff.
While T.S. is make believe, Field Notes are not. In my mind, the memo book, as I look at it through the eyes of a twelve-year old boy genius is a real life artifact that represents adventure, learning and clarification.
So, if you plan to read The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, pretend that T.S. whips out the Field Notes memo book from his back pocket to document stuff while in the middle of his adventures. I suspect that you too will be inspired to go out into the wild and do stuff too.
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