Coming this fall in the UK are a quartet of books in the Peanuts Guides to Life series: Philosophy of Snoopy, The Wisdom of Woodstock, The Genius of Charlie Brown, and Life Lessons from Lucy. It looks like these books aren’t being offered in the US… which is why those links go to The Book Depository, a UK book source that offers free shipping to the US.
“Customized” books have been around for a long time, with specialty publishers offering to insert your child’s name and sometimes some key details into a children’s book, giving them a unique item that talks about him. The publisher Sourcebooks has a line of these special-order items that add not just a name but also a photo, priced at $24.99 to $32.99. Their titles include ones starring Sesame Street fuzzball Elmo and the Berentstain Bears, and soon (I’m not sure quite when), they’ll have Peanuts titles as well.
Meanwhile, those are not the only Peanuts books that Sourcebooks is putting out. Coming in September are Cheer Up, Charlie Brown!: Getting Through Life One Laugh at a Time and Good Grief, It’s Your Birthday!: Growing Up Without Growing Old; given a press release says that the publisher will “re-package classic stories” (as well as information about format), I assume these are reprints of the books Don’t Give Up, Charlie Brown! and Good Grief, It’s Your Birthday! that were published by Harvest House back in 2006. Both of these hardcover books are available now for preorder.
That makes ten Peanuts book releases currently announced for September. If you were afraid we were going to face a shortage of Peanuts books, consider those concerns addressed.
He has spent his life at sea, He has sailed the wide world o'er, Now a castaway he drifts about the town. For his fate no mortal grieves; Not a living soul believes That there's any good in drunken Charlie Brown. Hark! the minute gun's loud boom Brings a tale of wreck and doom: To the beach a hundred daring men have flown; And the first to leap from shore, And the first to grasp an oar, Is the foolish seaman, drunken Charlie Brown. Led by each successive flash, Through the darkness on they dash–- 'Tis a gallant little boat of great renown; And the hand which guides her right, By the cannon's fitful light, Is the worthless hand of drunken Charlie Brown. Soon the listeners on the pier Catch and echo back a cheer, Which the rush of angry waters cannot drown; 'Tis the lifeboat full in view, And she brings a double crew-- But she comes without poor drunken Charlie Brown. At the early dawn of day Thousands flock to search the bay Where the shatter'd spars and wreck are widely strewn; And no eye withholds a tear When, at length, four tars appear With the dripping corpse of drunken Charlie Brown. To his mother's grave hard by, He is carried shoulder high, And the shipwreck'd sailors gentle lay him down-- Their old captain at the head-- In his cold and narrow bed,-- So farewell to poor drunken Charlie Brown. Now, the erring or unwise Doth thou in thy soul despise! Art thy ready with thy sentence and thy frown! Go--its lesson thou dost need-- Seek the quiet churchyard, and read There--the Epitaph of Drunken Charlie Brown. THE EPITAPH A friendly orphan, early left Unguarded in his wayward youth, He lived in later years, bereft Of virtue, temperance and truth. The Pharasaic world passed by-- "I thank thee, God," in every feature-- And showed its Christianity By shunning such a "wretched creature." What for him Christians would not do, The "Sinner" nobly did for others: He died for us, a foreign crew, And earned this tribute from his brothers.
poem by Ebenezer Smith, from the book Verses, published in 1871.
(Ran across that while in a Wikipedia discussion of whether it was possible that the Coaster’s song “Charlie Brown” – you know, the one who calls the English teacher “Daddy-o” – was not inspired by Schulz’s work.)
I finally got a copy of the new small hardcover strip collection Batter Up, Charlie Brown, which started shipping about a week ago. (My apologies for waiting so long; cheapskate Nat was waiting to see if a comp copy might arrive, but no.) This 64 page book reprints three baseball stories from the strip, most reprinted at one daily strip per page. The material is great, of course. The presentation, I’m a little less thrilled about; it has a lot of nice touches (additional strips are on the flaps and on the “boards” under the dust jacket), but the color scheme is focused on the drab – the cover is in drab greens, the paper is grey rather than white – and this doesn’t seem to me to go along with the baseball theme. Our national pastime strikes me more as something for the stark and garish. Yes, Peanuts baseball stories have their thematic grayness, I suppose; being on Charlie Brown’s team is not a source of unrelenting joy. It certainly does distant it from, say, the full-color blare of the AMP! For Kids strip collections, positioning this as a more mature item, but even given that, I think the choices were off.
You can see a flip-through of the book here.
As was explained to us when Derrick Bang and I were putting together the book collection of Schulz’s It’s Only A Game cartoons, the strip was designed to run in either of two formats: the full Sunday strip format as seen in the current color collection of the strip, or as three individual panels, to be run on different days of the week. That latter always seemed unlikely to me; what paper needs a cartoon every other day?
However, there was a third way of running the strip that actually was used… and once I saw it used, it was instantly clear that this had been an intended use. Here is an example from the Rocky Mountain News, as compared to the strip as reprinted in the book:
The paper ran just the first two of the three single panel gag in the Sunday funnies; the remaining panel, the bridge one, presumably ran on the same page as the bridge column. And you can tell that the strip was meant to be used this way because the full title is over those first two panels; the space over the bridge panel was always reserved for the disposable mini-gag.
I just added half a dozen of these two panel versions to the AAUGH.com Reference Library, as well as a clipping of a favorite Peanuts Sunday, the one where Linus vengefully builds a snow dinosaur, January 26, 1958.