Hallmark has come out with a new hardcover storybook, The Legend of Blackbeagle the Pirate. This volume is very much a follow-up to last year’s The Adventures of the Candy Crusader, with again being focused on characters that Snoopy and Woodstock choose to play on Halloween, again with rhyming text by Bill Gray and art by Rich LaPierre. And once again it ends with a pop-up final page, although this time it doesn’t advertise itself as a pop-up book on the cover. Our animal duo go out on pirate missions… which are seeking buried treasure, until it’s time for a raid on a Halloween party to steal all the treats (only to share them in the end with the folks they stole them from, because this is after commercial Peanuts products, and as such will tend to show the characters as particularly generous and giving.)
I’m not a big fan of in-verse storytelling for Peanuts. It seems to lay another level of texture onto the work that it wasn’t built for. In this form, we don’t get to hear Snoopy’s thoughts like we do in the strip, nor have all the motion-filled expression of the animated Snoopy. We get narration instead. LaPierre’s drawings are good, but he seems to have the most joy in the party scenes, getting to show all the other characters in their costumes.
But Shermy is dressed as the Great Pumpkin, and as a true believer, I consider that sacrilege.
Hallmark has, unsurprisingly, offered a stuffed tie-in to the book. (Indeed, one might suspect that creating new tie-in merch was much the point of having a series of Snoopy-in-costume books.)
They are also offering a pirate Snoopy travel mug, but this is clearly not the same pirate. The patch is on the other eye! (Although to be fair, this is actually the eye that Snoopy has covered in strips where he played Blackbeagle, in the late 1990s.)