Today’s find actually comes as little surprise – for the fourth year in a row, Andrews McMeel Publishing has unleashed a new volume in the The Big Book of Peanuts series. This year’s entry has all of the dailies from 1950s. These books are not distributed through the standard book channels, which makes them hard to find, but when you find them, there are deals to be had! Snagged my copy for $19.99 at Costco, which also had in stock some copies of the previous three volumes, covering dailies from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Hey, I got the new Hallmark book Peanuts Favorite Christmas Cookies, only to find out that I already had it… it’s a reprint of the book Peanuts Christmas Cookie Set, which was supposed to come out in 2013 but finally came out in 2014, as a paperback with three cookie cutters (a Snoopy head, a tree, and a mitten.) Even had the same cover image. For a minute, I cursed myself for not recognizing that I already had the book… but then I recalled that if I could remember every Peanuts book I owned, I wouldn’t have had to start my online book guide in the first place!
So in addition to the brief overview I did of the original book, I gotta comment on the title. It makes sense not. If it were Peanuts: Favorite Christmas Cookies, with title and subtitle, that would make sense. If it was Favorite Peanuts Christmas Cookies, then that would make sense, because Peanuts Christmas cookies could reasonably be considered a thing. If it were Peanuts’ Favorite Christmas Cookies, that would be wrong, because it would imply that “Peanuts” is the name of a character or group of characters, but it would make sense. But Peanuts Favorite Christmas Cookies is just word salad, and salad and cookies just don’t go together.
Having already taken my cash for the Christmas cookbook that I announced a few days ago, Hallmark’s website announced not one but two more Christmas-themed Peanuts books, designed specifically to drag money out of my pocket and place it other places!
On one hand, we have another one of those Itty-Bittys books, this one equipped with two of the Itty-Bitty stuffed figures (although Hallmark in their product description calls them “stuffed animals”. Charlie Brown gets no respect.) The plot description of It’s a Tree-Tumbling Christmas, Charlie Brown leaves me to believe that, unlike the prior Itty-Bittys Peanuts book, it is not derived from a TV special. It’s a tale of Snoopy having messed up a Christmas tree and its needing to be fixed. That doesn’t sound like it’s based on A Charlie Brown Christmas to me!
However, I suspect that the other book newly launched is based on A Charlie Brown Christmas. That is due to a combination of my careful detective work and to the fact that the book is titled A Charlie Brown Christmas: a Hallmark Lighted Pop-Up Book.
Will you be hearing more from me on this soon? Yes, yes you will.
I now have the board book The Many Faces of Snoopy (not to be confused with the strip collection Many Faces of Snoopy, nor the strip collection The Many Faces of Snoopy.) It consists of eight two-page spreads, each looking at a different Snoopy persona, with text from Jason Cooper and illustrations by Vicki Scott, whose work we always like.
But for the Peanuts purists, it gets off to an odd start. The first persona covered is The Masked Marvel, who they posit as a cape-wearing superhero, capable of flight. This is odd if you’ve just read Many Faces of Snoopy, where you read the actual Masked Marvel strips, and he’s always a sportsman (first an arm wrestler, then a golfer.) Schulz pretty clearly was channeling not superheroes when he first presented Snoopy as the Masked Marvel, but professional wrestling. Masked wrestlers have been around since 1873 (according to Pro Wrestling Illustrated), and the original Masked Marvel was a wrestler who appeared at bouts at the Manhattan Opera House in late 1915, well before the superhero era. (If it seems odd to you that an opera house was hosting wrestling, realize that while it was opened in 1906 by Oscar Hammerstein – no, not the one you’re thinking of, his grandfather – to compete with the Metropolitan Opera, they did such a successful job that after four years, the Met paid Hammerstein over a million bucks to stop hosting opera for at least a decade.)
Luckily, the target audience for a board book neither knows nor cares about all of the decades of strips and history of the Peanuts. And the drawing is nice!
Having chastised the Christian Science Monitor for their article on the end of the MetLife Peanuts license, I must now commend them for taking my concerns seriously once I submitted them. While the article is still grounded in some assumption of a lack of interest in Peanuts among the younger demographic, they have reworked it not only to remove the false claims of Peanuts availability on Netflix, but also to add:
That doesn’t mean, however, that the Peanuts gang has entirely lost its fan base. There is a new Peanuts TV series currently running on Cartoon Network’s Boomerang. A successful Peanuts movie released just last year.
(The next line, which was also in the earlier version, lets you know that “there continue to be hundreds of Peanuts products around the world.” I should’ve taken time to scoff at the “hundreds”. Hallmark alone has hundreds of Peanuts products. Try doing a search for “Snoopy” at Amazon and see how many results you get…)