Sneaky Little Beagle review

New releases

The Sneaky Little Beagle, a new color storybook from Hallmark, is more a book to read to someone than it is to read to yourself. For one thing, it’s better out loud; the book is set to the tune of the song “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. And for another, the book has a surprise on the last page… only if you’re the one turning the pages, it’s not much of a surprise. You know something is up because the paper is suddenly thicker and stiffer. But if you’re turning the page for someone looking on, perhaps the pop-up that appears really will be a surprise (especially if they are not yet a reader, as the cover and the title page both tell you that pop-up artist Brian Pilachowski worked on the book. (This is not a unique usage or problem; Back in 1991, I was reading a graphic novel based on the Terminator movies called One-Shot, and at a climactic scene, suddenly the paper was thick and stiff and something was clearly up. So the pop-up was interesting rather than a surprise.)

If you do choose to read it out loud to someone, practice it first. Sometimes, you have to force the syllables a bit to meet the meter of the song.

The story is basically one of Snoopy trying to scare the kids by jumping out at them while wearing a spider costume. Why a spider costume? There’s no in-story reason… but the out-of-story reason is that Hallmark has also just released a toy Snoopy in a spider costume.

Is this some ideal form of storybook? Nah, it feels like it’s serving too many master, trying to fit the music and tie in to the toy. But it’s a slick production, each illustration by Rich LaPierre is well done.

This one’s not available through Amazon, but is likely to be at your local Hallmark store.

New releases
Review: My First 100 Peanuts Words

  The first entry in the board book My First 100 Peanuts Words is Charlie Brown, which is arguably either two words or not a word at all. Like all of the 101 other entries in this book, it is accompanied by an illustration of the subject (or, in the case of music, a picture …

Classic finds
Review: O Natal de Charlie Brown

Recently added to the Reference Library’s Excessive Accumulation of A Charlie Brown Christmas Books is O Natal de Charlie Brown, a 2011 Portuguese-language edition published by Brazilian publisher L&PM Editores. This is a translation of the 2008 American edition with the Tom Brannon illustrations that have been a staple for so many edition’s …

Classic finds
Apparently, I’m the Man, and not in a Stan-the-Man way

“I live my life thinking I’m the rebel, fighting against the forces that be, Then one day I see the real rebel in the distance, and the one she’s rebelling is me” –“The Man”, by Strange Not Dead, off the album Gotta Dammerung So I get to thinking about that odd …