The new “Ready-to-Read Level Two” storybook Let’s Go to the Library! is officially “by Charles M. Schulz, adapted by May Nakamura, illustrated by Robert Pope”, and it’s actually valid to call it an adaptation (which is not true of some of these storybooks.) This tale of Sally’s first trip to the library is based on the April 23, 1963 strip and ends with the closing line from the strip from three days later. But the major goal of it seems to be not to entertain you but to introduce you to libraries (well, not “you” specifically; I reckon most of the people reading this blog are not only aware of what a library is, they’ve visited one in person.) But I do think there could have been more humor along the way. It seems to me that Peanuts is best used for education when that education is being carried by the humor, rather than having them switched to a “you know Charlie Brown and his friends can entertain, but let them take a moment to enlighten” mode. But then, that’s my view of education in general. I understand that they may not have wanted to include Sally thinking that public funding of libraries is the city trying to control people’s reading (from that original run of National Library Week strips), but they could’ve stolen some of Linus’s library-related lines about wanting to frame his library card, or about how the books being free “sort of makes you wonder what they’re up to!” without too much damage.
I gotta reckon that the main target for a book like is the libraries themselves. It’s very much a pro-library book (which is not a complaint; we are very pro-library here at AAUGH.com.) There are things that I really like about the depiction of the library (including that it’s a busy place full of kids of varying size), but other things raise an eyebrow. Sally spends her time looking among very thick books, when a kid her age would be more likely to hit the racks of thin ones. Some “shushing” goes on, and some of the librarians I know really don’t like that being the reputation of the library. And I can understand not putting text on the covers of any of the books pictured (among other things, it helps keep this book translatable to other languages more easily), given that a few of the books had images of the cover (Schroeder is reading ones with a picture of Beethoven and a musical note), it would’ve really made me smile to see one with a picture of six bunny-wunnies on it. (Helen Sweetstory must be respected!)
I will say that this lands at a slightly odd time; really, these days, it’s more Let’s Look Forward to the Day When We Can Go to the Library!
Let’s Go to the Library! is available for immediate shipping.