The latest in Fantagraphics’s series of square seasonal giftbooks is A Valentine for Charlie Brown. And it’s good at what it is, but may not be good for what you’d want it for.
It’s good because it’s a collection of Valentine’s Day-themed Peanuts strips, broken up into three sections: one about waiting bu the mailbox for Valentines that never arrive, one about Charlie Brown trying to give a Valentine to the Little Red-Haired Girl, and one about the pursuit of one’s Sweet Baboo, no matter how much he denies the title. These are good themes for strips, so there is much good strippage here… even if running strips from several years apart so closely creates a situation where a couple of gags are merely repeated, not really expanded on.
But the downside is that you’d kind of like a Valentine’s Day book to be a nice thing to give to the one you love on Valentine’s Day, and this book is inherently short of that good love, the kind that is shared. It’s all about he love one hopes for but never arrives, the love that you send out but do not get back in return, the love you are too scared to even bring up. It’s about failure, not romance. So it kind of makes a weak book to give to your loved one.
Unless your loved one is the kind who responds “Oh, honey! A Peanuts book! I love those! You’re so thoughtful!” Then you’re gold.
The book is now shipping, and can be ordered here.