Coming out on the same day in December are two board books, one named A Best Friend for Woodstock, and the other, A Best Friend for Snoopy. Is this a coincidence? Or are they linked somehow? Could it be that they go together… that it turns out that the unnamed best friend in both cases is the same person, and thus it all turns into some hideously jealous friendship triangle, with crying and repercussions? Only time will tell. Well, that, or actually reading the plot summaries…
There are some more kids storybooks coming up later this year. In August, we learn that Lucy Knows Best, with Kama Einhorn on adaptation and my occasional collaborator Robert Pope on the art. (For one of Robert’s non-Peanuts books, the About The Author section claims that he is a theologian at a university in Wales… all of which came as news to him.)
Then, in the last month of the year, we get into Linus Gets Glasses, adapted by Sheri Tan and again drawn by Pope. This gets into some stuff I love, all of he struggles of Linus with his glasses, from his watching-television-while-eating-potato-chip-driven discovery of their necessity all the way through Schulz writing them out of the strip in one funny and up-front daily strip. (Of course, I was bespectacled in my youth, a situation that continues to this day, so I may have felt extra empathy for the middle Van Pelt.)
delved into the forthcoming volume by gathering Schulz ephemera, including his advertising art and editorial illustration
Word has come out that David Liverett died on Friday at the age of 72. His contribution to Schulz scholarship was his book They Called Him Sparky, an oral history book on Schulz’s involvement in the Church of God. This was a book that I reviewed favorably when it came out, and years later became publisher of it to give it better distribution.
David was an illustrator and author (as well as a loving father and clearly devoted husband.) His books focused on music biographies and on spirituality. A committed Church of God member himself, David would build a book by bringing together essays by insightful Christians and illustrating them with some relevant thematic visual in his pointillist style – for example, his book Just Beyond the Passage: Life’s Changes in Art and Story (the one most relevant to this current news) has pictures of doorways and gates. In his last year, he had been working on another book of music biographies, following up his previous work on gospel singers and country musicians with a book on rock’n’rollers, drawing hundreds of pictures in the process.
I never met David, but I talked with him on the phone many times as we worked to get the books that he published available again, and he was charming, friendly, and at once both hopeful and realistic. He had lived with his cancer for years, and outlived the prognosis that he had told me when we started to make his books available again. In addition to the Sparky book, we managed to get back out Light from the Barn, Questions for God, Just Beyond the Passage, When Hope Shines Through, and Those Grand Ole Country Music Stars. (Two further books, Faith for the Journey and Love: Bridges of Reconciliation, are facing technical difficulties but should be available eventually.)
He loved and was loved, and he built things that remain available after he’s gone. That’s a good life.