Review: Better Together

New releases

Better Together is a recent Hallmark release that bridges halfway between a pictures-and-aphorisms book like Happiness is a Warm Puppy and a strip collection. The square book is a series of spreads of Peanuts strips (really, Snoopy strips; the dog is in every one of them) paired with an aphorism on friendship. Two-color printing is primarily used, black with red highlights on a gray background, which gives it a quieter sensibility than either the original Happiness is a Warm Puppy with its bold color paper or the reworked versions of those books with their full-color images.

The strips are arranged not thematically, but in order of original publication. This is a good choice, because they are taking from almost the entire run of the strip (1952 through 2000), and if you grouped them thematically, you’d be radically changing the design of the characters from page to page. By keeping them in order, they get a transition… and they embrace this whole thing by using a very early image as the front cover. They keep the strips as originally appeared in terms of having the “Peanuts” header, the copyright notice… they even leave in the url between the panels of a later strip, even though that no longer applies for Peanuts. Plus, they subtly put the year of the source on each spread, even on those few spreads where they don’t run the whole strip.

All in all, I think the book is nicely designed, and a good example of what it intended to be. The book lists for $14.99, and can be ordered from Hallmark.



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