Did you ever have the suspicion that the entire world was secretly scheming to make your life difficult? Well, you were wrong. That was just paranoia. Because the entire world is scheming just to make my life difficult, not yours.
Take, for example, the new book Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!, which is a board book written by Cala Spinner and illustrated by my pal, Robert Pope. Now, this is a Charlie Brown Christmas book, but it is not an A Charlie Brown Christmas book. Rather, it tells the tale of all the different Christmas trees that members of the Peanuts gang have, from Spike’s decorated cactus to Peppermint Patty’s one adorned with old math homework.
The book itself is perfectly fine; it should keep the young set that board books are aimed at interested, and the images are well done. The cover has a nice sparkle layer over the snow. It’s a perfectly fine book.
No, my problem is the title. Y’see, it’s not the first book with that title. It’s the third – the first one was a Look-And-Find book that came out in 2011. The second? A totally different board book that came out just two years ago! There was more than a half century of Peanuts books before anyone said “hey, let’s name a book Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown, and now it’s being done repeatedly. Surely, this is just to cause me problems. Even as I type this, in the Secret Conspiracy Base ‘N’ Things shop somewhere in the mountains of Delaware, the Head Conspirator is telling publishers “okay, over the next seven years every one of you will publish a book called The Easter Beagle Eats a Bagel. Doesn’t matter what’s in it.”
If you’ve got a toddler who would be interested in this book, give it to them before Christmas, so that they can be using it to get into the Christmas spirit, rather than giving it to them on Christmas, so that they don’t get to really enjoy it until Christmas is over. That’d be my strategy, anyway.
Now excuse me, I don’t hear any ninjas in my pantry, and that proves they’re there!