As I’ve said before, the folks at Andrews McMeel Publishing produce a series of good solid basic strip reprint books for kids. Hitting stores tomorrow (and available for preorder now, naturally) is Lucy: Speak Out!, the 12th volume in this series. While AMP started with sequential strip reprints, by this volume they’re mixing things up a bit. This book seems to be made up of strips from the 1970s, but not one single group of them. And they justify the title by leaning toward a Lucy-heavy mix of strips, including the first five strips being Lucy-led, but it’s hardly Lucy wall-to-wall, more like half Lucy, half other things. Being the 1970s, we get lots of Peppermint Patty strips, and the sequence where Charlie Brown is in the hospital. All in all, there are 168 pages of strips, with two dailies to a page, and Sundays being sometimes run on one page, sometimes over two pages, but it’s a goodly amount of Peanuts, more than half a year’s worth, and it’s all in color – not such a good thing for the purists among us, but good for the targeted kid market.
Thinking about that hospital sequence, which runs about a month and thus takes a good chunk of the space in here even though Lucy only makes a couple appearances, has got me thinking that Lucy didn’t really tend to get extended storylines, at least not as much as Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Linus do. From a character standpoint, that’s not surprising; she is a very reactive character, and the longer stories are often quite introspective, not Lucy’s strong suit.
In addition to the strips, the book has a pull-out poster of the cover, and a several page article about sportswomen in Peanuts. It’s a light piece, with most of the space taken up with strip examples (the one place you’ll find black-and-white strips in the book). Aimed at kids, it’s not surprising it doesn’t delve into how Schulz evolved from using females as being inert at sports to being very sportswoman-positive, but that’s something you adult readers should keep in mind (it’s a nice concrete example of personal growth.)
All in all, this isn’t a book that anyone who has The Complete Peanuts needs, but it would be a fine book to throw at a niece who needs some Peanuts in her life.
A review copy was provided by Andrews McMeel.