Barnes & Noble now has their exclusive edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is part of a series of Christmas “snow block” books they’re putting out. What is a snow block? Well, you know snow globes, those water-filled balls that you turn or shake and it makes it look like it’s snowing little foam pellets? Well, this is that, only rectangular. Just think if the obelisk from 2001 was shallower, small, and clear, and had Charlie Brown and a little Christmas tree and water and little foam pellets inside, and you’ll get the image (although that seems a long way to go ’round to get it.)
Of course, this means that most of the thickness of the book is really a box/frame for the snow block and some protective backing/box thickener. But if you turn that out of the way, you’ll find you’re looking at a book adaptation of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Ah, but which adaptation? A new one? No. One of the recently issued ones, like the new board book or the minibook edition? No. They’ve actually gone and reused the very first book adaptation, the 1965 one published by The World Publishing Company, and illustrated by Dale Hale (who goes uncredited, which is a bit of a shame; on newer adaptations, the art adapters are credited.)
As I said, a B&N exclusive, you can’t order it through AAUGH.com but you can get it through the link above. Should you? Well, even if you want one, I’m going to suggest that you not order through the link above, at least not if you have a local B&N. Why? Because the Charlie Brown and tree inside the block (and I should make it clear that this is a shaped flat item, and not a real 3-D piece) is hand-painted. That means that there is some real quality variation from snow block to snow block. None of them are amazing, all should look fine from a distance, but if you have the chance you may want to look through a few of them to pick out the best one.
At my local B&N, there was a display of the various snow block books (Frosty the Snowman, Night Before Christmas, etc.), but A Charlie Brown Christmas wasn’t there. Instead, it was on a display table of Christmas books in the kids section. Which is not to say that that is where it will be in your store, just that if you don’t see it where you think you’ll find it, don’t panic.
Now, if you want to read the book adaptation, this is not the best format for it. In addition to the thick book-stuck-on-the-back-of-the-box effect, the book is both smaller and squarer than the original edition; images designed for a wider page leave a fair amount of white space in this book. You should be able to find a used copy of the original adaptation for less than the $15 this will set you back. But if you want the snow block, this is the way to go!