I have very recently received the board book Woodstock’s Sunny Day, which I absolutely should not be reviewing, because I still haven’t reviewed The Peanuts Papers, a collection of famed author articles about Peanuts, even though I’ve had it for weeks. But that’s because I’ve only made a dent in the Papers book, whereas Sunny Day, having only six highly-illustrated, low-text spreads, can be digested in a couple of minutes. And so I read through its tale of Snoopy and Woodstock going out, playing with a balloon, shooting hoops, and trying to see-saw, and then it’s over, and I can tell you whether I liked it or not, and it really doesn’t matter if I liked it or not because it’s not meant for me. I’m sure that Patty Michaels wrote this with children in mind. Vicki Scott did her usual fine job on the art. I could point to the slightly fuzzy image of Woodstock on the cover, and make a joke about how that sort of added texturing is sometimes called “flocking”, which could be used in a pun because Woodstock is a bird and bird groups are called “flocks”, but what would be the point? I wold have much more legitimate reactions to the Papers book, and that’s that all of the essays that I’ve read so far are so “big picture” that they sound pretty much the same, covering Schulz’s ability to reflect real frustration and sadness through these figures in their minimalist settings, and that any one of them would make a perfectly acceptable introduction to a Peanuts anniversary collection (well, except Joe Queenan’s, which is spritely and humorous but takes unneeded cheap shots at the later part of the strip’s run), but the effect of reading them in a row is much sadness and repetition. But then, if I did so, I would just have to admit that I just looked back at the Table O’Contents and the first section of the book is named “Big Picture”, so it’s not a shock that they are all big picture, and that it looks like there are many essays to come on more specific topics, so once I get through 4 more “Big Picture” essays (I’ve read 7), I should be on my way to more variety. So instead, I get to tell you whether you should buy this book for someone for Christmas or Hanukkah or National Buy Everyone a Board Book Day, and the answer is that it’s a perfectly acceptable physical object for those who might stick a book in their mouths, but it is in no way necessary, and if you were thinking of buying it for someone who can already understand the language, it’s more important that you get them a key non-board book like The Monster at the End of this Book or Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. So that qualifies as a review, I suppose, and a recommendation, which is more than I can do for The Peanuts Papers, about which i can say just that if you want to read essays about Peanuts, there are so many here that there are bound to be at least some you like, and also some you don’t, and it should be a good gift for those who think they will like owning a book of Peanuts essays, even if they never get around to reading much of it. And that’s not truly informative at all.
Woodstock’s Sunny Day has a cover price of $6.99, and is available for immediate shipment.