The latest addition to the AAUGH.com Reference Library is not a book… yet. Tips from the Gang is the latest in a line of fabric sheets that are a bit of sewing and cutting (as well as a bit of batting) away from the being a cloth book…. or, if you’re not so enterprising, you can generally find someone on Etsy who has already done the work for you and will charge you a bit more for the privilege. It’s a simple thing, suggestions for living a good life with examples (or counterexamples) with the Peanuts characters. These make for cute semi-hand-made gifts for the youngest set, but I kind of wish there was some blankish space on the cover so that someone who is good with a needle could customize them a bit.
A couple quick notes, things sent in from readers:
AAUGH Blog reader Scott Microsoft is offering some free (digital) Christmas albums for folks who sign up for a thirty-day free trial of their “Groove Music Pass” service, and they include A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Motown Christmas, and all the Justin Bieber Christmas you could want. I’m not signing up, because I already have A Charlie Brown Christmas and all the Justin Bieber Christmas music I want.
And AAUGH Blog Reader John points out that the first DVD for the current animated Peanuts run, the English translation of the short French cartoons, has been announced. Peanuts by Schulz: Snoopy Tales has two disks with three hours worth of material at a suggested price of $18.94, because people like to just make up silly numbers.
The book Peanuts and Philosophy: You’re A Wise Man, Charlie Brown, is now shipping… which I know because I’ve got a copy. However, this is not a review, because it’s going to take me a while to get through the eighteen short essays discussing the philosophical maters to be found within Peanuts. This is, apparently, volume 106 in a series of similar pop culture & philosophy books.
If you’ve always wanted one of those gilt-edged fancy Easton Press editions, they’ve got HAPPINESS IS A WARM PUPPY now at 20% off… which still puts it at close to $100. Looks like that’s the only Peanuts book that they have left.
I’ve finally gotten around to filling in the whole that I left in my Peanuts Great American Adventure collection, by getting the storybook Hooray for Liberty, Charlie Brown! This recent volume, written by former-voice-of-Lucy Tracy Stratford, tells about Lucy talking the gang into building a treehouse, and then declaring herself “queen” and charging the others for playing in the house they built. Linus, rather than bemoaning their treatment, uses it as an excuse to explain the parallels between their current predicament and the American colonies of Britain, when they ultimately decided to secede from the motherland and declare their independence.
I’ve been keeping a bit of an eye on these books, given that they come from an avowedly conservative publisher. I was looking to see if they ever crossed the line from conservative values (and really, they are largely grounded in patriotism) to conservative spin (which is something that the publisher certainly has supported on other fronts.) They haven’t until now, but there’s a small whiff of it here; when Queen Lucy deposes herself from the clubhouse, the gang, who had focused somewhat on the “no taxation without representation” phrases of the American rebels, get into the clubhouse and set no charge, which could be read as equating the phrase with “no taxation, period.” (In contrast, they could’ve agreed that everyone would still chip in a nickel, but it would be used to get snacks.) However, that may be reading a bit into it all, as there’s inherently a simplification that is apt to take place in a history-oriented book for kids. (That’s why I don’t complain about the text piece in the back saying that “The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 Congressional representatives on July 4, 1776” when historians generally agree that not all of the fifty-six were there on that day, although they debate just how many may have signed it then.) A little simplifying can be useful in keeping the core of the truth from being lost, when dealing with kids.
The art is by Tom Brannon, who does his usual lovely Tom Brannon style.