A Charlie Brown Christmas (Peanuts Classic)

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9780792169161: A Charlie Brown Christmas (Peanuts Classic)

Surrounded by other kids with extremely commercial ideas about Christmas, Charlie Brown struggles to understand the true spirit of the holiday.

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Review:

Just like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Valentine, this illustrated read-along seeks to re-create the popular Peanuts TV show of the same name. This edition also includes a four-song sampler CD from jazz-great Vince Guaraldi's brilliant soundtrack.

With illustrator Paige Braddock aping Charles Schulz's style, A Charlie Brown Christmas retells the Emmy Award-winning program blow-by-blow (with a few omissions), from the ice-skating opening scene to preparations for the school pageant to Charlie Brown's ill-fated Christmas tree rescue. Braddock almost perfectly mimics the show's cast and backdrops, but just as no one could be fooled by even expert impersonation of a loved one, Peanuts fans might find the niggling differences distracting (whether it's Schroeder's too-wavy hair or Pig Pen's just-too-small head).

A "novelization" like this probably can't ever hope to completely recapture the charm of the original, even if it had used Schulz's original art. Although the dialogue has been faithfully reproduced, much of the story's subtle appeal and cultural subtext gets lost in the book's simplified exposition--which is too bad, given that these are precisely the qualities which have made the show (and Schulz's timeless strip) so durable and well-loved in the first place. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

About the Author:

Charles Monroe Schulz (1922 -2000) was a 20th-century American cartoonist best known for his Peanuts comic strip. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Dena and Carl Schulz. His nickname "Sparky" was given by his uncle, after the horse Spark Plug in the Barney Google comic strip. He attended St. Paul's Richard Gordon Elementary School, where he skipped two half-grades. As a result, he was the youngest in his class when he attended St. Paul Central High years later, which may have been the reason why he was so shy and isolated as a young teenager. After his mother died in February, 1943, he was drafted into the army and sent to Camp Campbell in Kentucky. He was then shipped to Europe two years later to fight in World War II. After leaving the United States Army in 1945, he took a job as an art teacher at Art Instruction Inc., which he attended before he was drafted. First published by Robert Ripley in his Ripley's Believe It or Not!, then in a series of chronicles, The Saturday Evening Post, his first regular comic strip, Li'l Folks was published in 1947 by the St. Paul Pioneer Press. (It was in this strip that Charlie Brown first appeared, as well as a dog that looked much like Snoopy). In 1950 he approached the United Features Syndicate with his best strips from Li'l Folks, and Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950. This strip became one of the most popular comic strips of all time. He also had a short-lived sports-oriented comic strip called It's Only a Game (1957-1959), but abandoned that strip due to the demands of the success of Peanuts.

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