We are saddened to report the passage of Donna Mae Wold, the woman who Charles Schulz called “The Little Red Haired Girl”, whom he wanted to marry, and who lent inspiration to Peanuts. She was 87.
Having talked about the two book adaptations of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown that I had not expected to buy when I went to my local Hallmark store, what about the one that I did expect to buy?
I quickly thought that I did not have to buy it. After all, I don’t feel the need to buy different editions of the same book unless they have genuinely different content… except for A Charlie Brown Christmas. I don’t need that madness spreading to other corners of my collection. And I recognized the Paige Braddock art that’s used on this adaptation, from an edition that was first published by Hallmark back in 2009.
But… I would’ve been wrong to skip buying this. Because yes, it uses Paige Braddock art from that earlier adaptation, but it is not the same adaptation! They’ve totally replaced the text (the writer of the new version is not given a clear credit) and scaled back on the art. While the 2009 version was a 48 page book, the new version is a mere 24, so big chunks of art and story are gone. In some way, it’s done in complement to the Snoopy the Flying Ace book that I talked about yesterday; where that book focus on Snoopy’s adventures in the special, this all but eliminates them. He isn’t mentioned in the story until it’s time for him to arise in the pumpkin patch (although he is seen in the background of one story image.)
The story cuts are at times clunky. Most notably, there is Lucy declaring that it’s time to bob for apples, and there’s a drawing showing Charlie Brown looking disgusted at that… but the actual thing he is reacting to, and the whole point of having a bobbing-for-apples scene, is gone. There is no Snoopy in the apple bucket.
However, I do see this 50th anniversary edition as being in one a way a proper tribute to the history of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This edited-down version brings to mind all the ever-more-edited-down versions of the TV special that aired for decades, as the special was trimmed to accommodate more ad time in the half hour.
The history of this edition is even richer than you might think, because the text from that 2009 version was not original; it reused the text (but not the pictures) from a 2001 adaptation published by Little Simon.
When I went to the Hallmark store, I was looking for the 50th anniversary edition of the adaptation of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And I found it. And as I noted yesterday, I also found another adaptation of that same TV special, only a light-up, pop-up edition. And I found a third book, which was this one:
Snoopy the Flying Ace. It’s been used as a title several times before, but this is not a copy of any of those books. Instead, this is…. wait for it…
…an adaptation of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Really. Hallmark just issued three different adaptations of the same TV special, and it’s not even A Charlie Brown Christmas.
This adaptation is different. It’s all focused on matters from Snoopy’s point of view. And it has a stuffed Snoopy figure (attached to a sleeve, which is removable from the book.) The figure is part of Hallmark’s “itty bittys” line, where characters from a range of properties are reinterpreted as simplistic, fuzzy little bowling pins. This is another example of what I discussed a few posts back, about how when you try to put another existing texture over Peanuts, you end up with something that is less than the sum of its parts. The Peanutsness is lost. (I’m sure some of you will disagree with my tastes on this one.)
The book’s visuals are based around this interpretation of Peanuts… even down to Snoopy hopping from place to place because the itty bittys don’t have any legs to walk with.
The adaptation is written by Jake Gahr, drawn by Chris Green. $19.95 list price, and part of Hallmark’s 25% off sale through August 21.
When I went to Hallmark to buy one book adaptation of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, they sold me two! And, as this short video shows, it has something special to it (those getting the blog via email may need to click through to see this.)
That’s right, it’s a pop-up, light up book. It really only has one lightbulb built in; it shines up from below, bring light through various holes. Kinda keen! There’s just six pop-up spreads, in this adaptation written by Kara Goodier and illustrated by Tim Bodendistel.
This book has a $19.95 list price. It does qualify for this week’s Hallmark sale on Peanuts gift items, saving you about $5 if you get it by August 21. It is not (yet?) available online.
As promised, I went to the local Hallmark shop, and found… no knowledge of the Peanuts sale. No signage. Talked to someone who appeared to be the manager, and she was unaware of such a sale. So I mentioned that it was on Hallmark’s website, and she went into her office and did the research, and came back to let me know that indeed, there is a sale. It didn’t apply to ornaments (which is fine, I’m not an ornament guy) or greeting cards (I’m only somewhat of a greeting card guy), and she tried to steer me to the Peanuts statuary section to show me all that was on sale… but I explained that I am solely a book guy. And I grabbed the book that I came there for, the 50th anniversary edition of The Great Pumpkin (priced at $10, give or take a few cents)…
…and two more books that I hadn’t even known about, ones that aren’t on the Hallmark website (yet.) At $20 apiece. So saving money ended up costing me a lot more than expected!
More on those two books over the next couple of days.