With festive merriment all around, you can count on Charlie Brown to find the woes and worries among the wintry wonder. But will he find some cheer in time for Christmas?
“It was Christmas time. Snow covered the ground, festive music filled the air and everyone dashed about full of joy.” Well, to be precise, not exactly “everyone” is full of joy.
Amid all the Christmas cheer, there is one little fella whose face bears a familiar frown as Charlie Brown has a foreboding sense of gloom as all his festive plans start to unravel…
With his emotional honesty, Charlie Brown is an anti-hero, who wears his heart on his sleeve. The eternal underdog, he may struggle with life’s little challenges more than his carefree peers, but a happy conclusion is never far away for good ol’ Charlie Brown.
Firstly, his Christmas tree is straggly, not sprightly. He’s discovered he only has 5 cents in his money box (and Lucy swiftly manages to relieve him of that with her 5 cent a pop Psychiatric Help booth). Even his homemade presents are causing havoc, despite his best attempts to make thoughtful gifts with his handmade snowshoes for Peppermint Patty sinking in the snow, his special ice skates for Lucy proving too slippy, and his skis for Linus ending in a terrific tumble. Poor Charlie Brown!
But all is not lost. Finally, Charlie realises the true meaning of Lucy’s homespun wisdom: Christmas isn’t about opening your wallet, it’s about opening your heart. And it’s not what’s under the tree that matters, but who’s around it. Sage advice that’s got to be worth 5 cents of anybody’s money!
This is a delightful tale that’s full of the charms of the Peanuts Gang, with Charlie Brown at his Woody Allen best, with his faithful sidekick Snoopy watching thoughtfully (ie, with think bubbles) from the sidelines, and inadvertently adding to his owner’s grief ( he switches off Charlie’s fairy lights to illuminate his own, and chops down the tree that leads to Linus’s skiing accident).
It also has a heartwarming message about the meaning of Christmas and perfectly depicts the rich dynamics of friendship – for young and old.
There’s also a lovely Meet the Peanuts Gang ‘family tree’ chart that introduces the cast of characters, showing their connections, whether they are siblings, classmates, best buddies or romantic interests – there’s a few school boy (and girl) crushes going on!
2015 is going to be a busy year for Snoopy et al, with a new animated feature film being realised, alongside a charming collection of collectible Peanuts figurines by toymaker Schleich.
Did you know? On June 28, 1996, Schulz was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He’s in rather prestigious company, with Walt Disney’s star adjacent to Schult’z.
Author notes Born in 1922, Charles Monroe Schulz, nicknamed Sparky, was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Peanuts. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, cited as a major influence by many later cartoonists. The first Peanuts cartoon strip appeared in 1950 in nine US newspapers, including the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. Between 1950 and 2000, a total of 17,897 strips were published, portraying a memorable cast in their perpetual youth. At its peak, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages. The final daily original Peanuts comic strip was published on January 3, 2000. Schulz died on February 12, 2000. Fittingly, Charlie Brown was the only character to appear in both the first strip in 1950 and the last in 2000.
This edition features the characters created by Charles M Schultz, with text by Lauren Holowaty and line illustrations by Tom Brannon.