Modern book adaptations of Peanuts specials generally shorten the special, because a TV special will have more content than a standard children’s picture book will hold. (This is, I should note, the opposite situation from adult novel adaptations of feature films, where they will add scenes not in the movie, as a novel is longer than a 90 minute film.) The two new books based on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown that I received last week take different angles on it. The book that’s titled It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (adaptation by Kara McMahon, art by Scott Jeralds) takes basically the whole special and simplifies everything. It briefly tells you that Charlie Brown had trouble with the scissors, rather than show you. It has him get a rock once, then just mention that it happens repeatedly. It skips the Flying Ace’s mission altogether, but basically, it takes everything from front to end. When you have 22 pages to tell a tale that’s more than 22 minutes, that’s the way it has to be.
You Got a Rock, Charlie Brown (adapted by Maggie Testa, art by Robert Pope) takes a different angle. Despite having more story pages – a full thirty – it tries to cover a smaller portion of the special, focusing on the costume-making and the trick or treating, with just a couple pages at the party – and not only no Flying Ace, there’s no pumpkin patch. By keeping focus, they have the room to keep the humor better.
By the way – speaking of artist Robert Pope, if you liked what you saw when he and I were working together on the Peanuts comic book, we’ve got something else for you. Robert drew one of the two stories in my latest comic book, Chinese Fortune Comics. And if you want that… well, I hope you’re in Alberta, Canada, because it’s only available one place, at the well-loved restaurant The Lingnan in Edmonton.