New to the reference library

Play It Again, Schroeder! is now shipping. Nicely, this is not a Schroeder-themed strip collection; it’s a music-themed collection. That means that it’s still Schroeder-heavy, of course, but not to the degree that they had to scrape up every Schroeder strip out there (in contrast to the recent Pig-Pen-themed collection). And there’s plenty of fine strips… plus, because music was such a prevalent theme in Peanuts, there’s only a couple places where they stoop to pulling a couple strips out of the midst of a generally non-music storyline. Because the strips are shown in sequence, there is clustering of themed strips – toward the end, there’s a lot of strips about Peppermint Patty and Marcie at the Tiny Tots concerts, for example, and a lot of strips in which a musical staff is physically interacted with.
(None of this is to suggest that a purely Schroeder-themed collection couldn’t be good; there’s a sweet Italian Lucy-and-Schroeder-at-the-piano collection I always liked. But that’s a much shorter book; this one has 326 strips, which would be a bit much for any one thing.)

Also arrived is the new board book version of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The writing makes a good 10-page summary of the classic TV special, and the adaptation of Schulz art to tell the tale is pretty well done (if over-colored; shadowing under the chin makes a lot of characters look like they need a shave, or perhaps have hobo smudges.) It won’t replace actually seeing the special, and all the humor disappears when shortened to this degree, but for what it is, it’s a good job.

Now, when you’re Mr., people expect you to know everything about Peanuts books. And when you’re Mrs. Mr., you’re expected mainly to just nod in understanding amusement when Mr. is just spilling all his knowledge out in front of you for no particular reason. But it doesn’t always work that way. Y’see, on eBay a couple weeks back, I spotted a Peanuts cloth book that I’d never seen before, something called Snoopy’s Travels. I didn’t recognize it, and couldn’t find any reference to it out there, so of course I bought it. And when it arrived, I stared at it, and its lack of any copyright notice or publisher mark that would explain the source of this baby’s book of pictures of Snoopy traveling in France, Italy, England, and Holland. And then Mrs. Mr. came home, saw it sitting on the table, and said “oh, you got one of those!” She’d seen this, or something like it, at a crafts store — it was a make-your-own cloth book kit. Ah, knowledge comes from so many places..

Also added to the library is the only Easton Press edition in there so far. Easton Press, as some of you know, puts out leather-bound, gilt-edged editions of many books, including various Peanuts books. It’s nicely put together in some ways – the cover feels solid, the end papers are nice, but about the only thing that actually improves the experience of reading it is the bound-in ribbon you can use as a bookmark. It’s more a gift-to-impress than a real better practical experience. One minor note for the hardcore among us: on the spine, it says “By Charles Schulz” – and off the top of my head, I can’t recall any other Peanuts book that does so. it’s either by simply “Schulz” or by “Charles M. Schulz”.
With as much money as I sink into Peanuts books, I’m glad I got this used, and don’t think I’ll be chasing after completing my collection of Easton Press editions soon; at the moment, I can go to the publisher’s website (they don’t sell through stores) and order 10 Peanuts books for about $800. Ouch!

Well, this was a bit of a rambling post, so as long as I’ve got you, I might as well note that we’ve stared to take advertising here on The AAUGH Blog. No, I’m not selling you space in the blog entries themselves, but along the edges… and at this point, you can buy a small ad for about a penny a day (in fact, I think there are still some free ads available.) Go here for more info.

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