Review: Charlie Brown – All Tied Up

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Andrews McMeel has released their thirteenth and latest book in the Peanuts for Kids/AMP! Comics for Kids series (although now neither of those brands appear on the book.) Charlie Brown: All Tied Up is a collection of early-1980s Peanuts strips. It has all of the features that make this series a good one for its young audience: 164 pages of strips in full color (either two colorized dailies per page, or a Sunday stretched out over two pages. Additional features in this one include a guide to making your own mini kite, a recipe for “Woodstock’s birds nests” (chow mein noodles, chocolate, jelly beans, and peanut butter.) And in the end, there’s a poster of the cover you can pull out and mount on your wall.

But there’s two reasons why I think this is a volume in the series you may want to get for your young friends. One is a bit of the content – this book has the start and much of the run of the romance between Pig-Pen and Peppermint Patty, which is a run I’m particularly fond of… and that I think makes for a good storyline for those who may be on the cusp of the world of romance but have not yet been engaged. Peanuts is not a strip filled with fulfilled romance, it is built far more around unrequited love. The Peppermint Patty/Pig-Pen romance is actually a very healthy and natural example of real-world coupling. These are not the most attractive or amazing people, nor are they people who carry an inflated view of herself (indeed, PPatty is almost always down on herself, and PPen is variably so.) Nor is the romance built around illusions or assumptions of what the other one is, it’s built around them spending some time together and liking doing so. And they don’t both want the same things at the same time. And when the relationship comes to an end (which is not in this volume), it involves neither high drama nor high dudgeon, it’s just something that doesn’t quite work out. So in its own humorous way, it’s a great antidote to, well, just about every other depiction of romance that we give to young folk.

The other reason you might want to move on this is the price. These books have long been a fair bargain at $9.99 cover price (and less, generally, when you order through Amazon.) The next volume, due out in March, jacks that up to $11.99. Why? Well, you can expect to see the price on a lot of books going up, due to the Trump Administration’s tariffs, which just hit most categories of books and will soon hit more. These books are printed in China, which means that when the next volume arrives from there, the U.S.-based publisher will have to pay a significant surcharge that goes to the U.S. government. (Despite what some want you to believe, tariffs are paid by the importer, not the exporter.)

Of course, the book has a lot more than the romance. There’s a lot of Peppermint Patty in general… I didn’t count it out, but it may be more of her than of Charlie Brown, despite the cover title. You get some Eudora, some Beagle Scouts (including Harriet and her seven-minute frosting), folks interacting with musical notes and staffs… all the things your looking for in 1980s Peanuts.

The book is available for immediate order.

A review copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

 

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