This is the cover for the Posh Coloring Book: Peanuts that’s coming out next April, and it shows one of the little oddities of Peanuts coloring book in general: one of the central characters is, by nature, black and white! Still, looks like fun.
For various reasons, I’m not actually reviewing the collection of the Kaboom! Peanuts comics. However, I now have Peanuts volume 8, and I do have to say that one thing I like about these collections is that they have a cover gallery in the back, and they include not only the standard covers for the books, but any variant covers that were issued. For example, in this volume that collects issues 25 through 28, it has a Denver Comic Con exclusive cover for issue 25 that I didn’t even know existed.
Usually, when I order a Peanuts book, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to find inside. I do, after all, have hundreds of Peanuts books, and am able to discern patterns. This will be a storybook, that will be a themed strip reprint, and so on. And so, when I saw the book You’re a Leader, Charlie Brown coming from an imprint that did executive help books, I knew what I’d be getting: some expert on being an executive using Peanuts strips as examples and launching points for discussing various management tricks and techniques. I’d seen books like that before.
I am happy to announce that I guessed wrong.
Instead, this is a serious book of management and executive techniques, as supposedly written by various members of the Peanuts cast. Does it lean on examples? At times. For example, Schroeder teaches you leadership lessons from Beethoven’s life. But most of it is Charlie Brown talking about perseverance, The World Famous Author talking about communicating, Linus talking about listening, and so forth. We are supposed to treat these youngsters as management experts as they put forth what I take it are fairly standard bits of management advice (if, at times, questionable; when Linus suggest that asking people to repeat themselves is a good way of looking for more information, it sounds to me more like a way of announcing that you weren’t paying attention.) To be fair, much of Snoopy’s writing on communication is telling you to learn from his mistakes rather than to emulate his example, and that is likely wise.
The real human author of the book, Carla Curtsinger, tends to give the characters the same voice (Peppermint Patty was a bit difference), but she has brought with her Peanuts knowledge (she used to write and edit for Hallmark, so that’s not a big surprise) and uses specific reference from the strip. At times, this is kinda fun, as when she uses the fact that Peppermint Patty brought Charlie Brown on her baseball team as the mascot when discussing making sure you’re using people for their strengths. At times, though, it trips her up. When Schroeder says “these are some of the reasons that I’ve celebrated Beethoven’s birthday twenty-seven times throughout the years,” yes, it’s probably accurate that that’s how many years Beethoven’s birthday was announced in the strip, but by putting that in the character’s voice, it makes Schroeder much older than his character ever is.
The visuals, a mixture of strips and spot images, are taken from a wide range of Peanuts, which means there isn’t a 100% consistent look, but that’s fine. There is one choice I thought particularly odd, as Linus’s chapter was lead off with a spot cartoon taken from an ad for Butternut Bread, including him mentioning the product by name!
The cover to the book is also somewhat odd to me, in terms of credit. Curtslinger’s name is on the spine, but it’s not on the front cover (this is the sort of time one might do an “as told to” credit), nor on the title page. Foreword author Brian Tracy gets credit in both those places, presumably because he carries some NYT best-selling author weight. The publisher’s web page lists the author as Charles Schulz (not even with the middle initial he usually gets as an author.) While Curstlinger does get an about-the-author page and bookflap, this still seems an odd and inconsistent way to treat her (and I’m saying that with both my “author” and “publisher” hats on.) Plus, the title is weird in-context; if Charlie Brown is a co-author of this book, then why is it referring to him in the second person?
Missed opportunity: the book could have had a short chapter written by Woodstock, and have it all be ||||! ||! |l1|!, with appropriate headers and bullet points.
I’m feeling pretty ill, something I ate yesterday is apparently having its revenge. I really shouldn’t leave the house, but on Saturday I missed a postal delivery, and I’m pretty sure it’s the shipment from Poland, the one with that last book I need to complete my set of the three book Fistaszki series in all their traced-Peanuts-strips glory. That might not make me feel physically better, but it should lift my spirits, I reckon.
And I get there, and they find the package, and yes, it’s from Poland, it’s what I’ve been waiting for!
Then I open it up.
They’ve sent the wrong book. It’s another copy of one of the volumes I already have.
Now I feel even worse.
I did a little unboxing of the A Charlie Brown Christmas Coloring Kit, which is the third new print edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas that I’ve covered this year. (Email blog subscribers can see the video here.)
What this video shows, if you pay attention, is:
- I really need to clean my cell phone camera lens and get a proper tripod for these efforts.
- While this is clearly a new edition, it’s not a new adaptation. Rather, this is an uncolored version of the same Tom Brannon-illustrated adaptation that has been put into various editions repeatedly for years now. To be specific, it uses the recent variant of that adaptation, which does away with Peppermint Patty and Marcie from the story (appropriately, as they were not in the TV special that’s being adapted.)
If you view it as a coloring book, $9.95 is a steep price for 23 small images to color (the box boasts “46 cards”, but of course half of them carry the text) and some stubby pencils. On the other hand, it is a nice physical object to stuff in a stocking.