There are those who say that Christmas is the most special time of year, but I am not among those, for more special to me and my crazed little heart is those times of years when a new book edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas is made available. And these days are better than Christmas themselves, for Christmas comes but once a year, while new book editions come two or three times in most recent years. And “Hark!” the Hallmark flyer sings, for it brings us wondrous things!
This new edition is the most high-tech edition to date, because you can actually record yourself reading the book, then give it to someone, and when they turn each page, they’ll hear your voice, accompanied by music. The electronics behind this makes it a rather thick book for the 32-pager it is, but to a certain degree that thickness feels like it justifies the $29.99 price tag.
The adaptation is new – new repurposed Schulz art, new text adaptation. The visuals are well done, but interrupted somewhat by the mechanics of the book. Not only is there a speakerbox at the bottom of the page, which includes buttons used in the recording process and batteries (removable, AAA batteries, so you can keep the book alive for longer, and your recording does not disappear when the batteries are removed), but also with wholes in each page near the spine. The book uses these holes to tell when a page has been turned; light passes through the holes to some light sensors built into the book.
The music is not music from the TV special (unsurprisingly, because that costs extra to license). Rather, it’s brief bits from Christmas classics. They do use “Hark the Herald Angel Sings”, but not at the end of the book (where the same music falls in the special), but when Linus is giving his scripture monologue.
This is not a book for you to own, unless you’re a serious collector. Rather, it is a book for you to give, and whether it’s the right thing for you to give depends on your relationship with the recipient. (I can’t help but hold the image in my mind of a soldier’s kids going through the book every day, hearing the voice of a parent who is away on a tour of duty.) This is already available at Hallmark stores, but not through their website. If no Hallmark Gold Crown stores are convenient, you can find them via eBay listings like this.
For those of you who are new to the AAUGH Blog: book editions of A Charlie Brown Christmas are an obsession here, and we have an ever-more-complete guide to the dozens of editions that have been issued over the past 46 years here. I think it’s one of the more interesting parts of the site, but then, that’s me.