IN THIS ISSUE:
*NEW BOOK SHIPPING 1: TAKE A HIKE, SNOOPY
*NEW BOOK SHIPPING 2: HERE’S TO YOU, AMERICA
*NEW BOOK SHIPPING 3: ANOTHER SCHULZ BIO FOR KIDS
*NAT’S DREAM FIND
*PEANUTS GANG BOOKS CHEAP
*THOSE EMAILS AREN’T FROM ME
*USED PEANUTS BOOK HUNTING TIP
*ODD PEANUTS BOOK: ME AND CHARLIE BROWN
*WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?
NEW BOOK SHIPPING 1: TAKE A HIKE, SNOOPY
The latest in the Ready-to-Read line of children’s storybooks, TAKE A HIKE, SNOOPY!, is now shipping. This paperback, color storybook is about Snoopy taking the Beagle Scouts on a hike. Derived from strip storylines, the minor oddity in this one is that Woodstock has readable dialog! http://AAUGH.com/go.htm?0689849389 Library-bound edition: http://AAUGH.com/go.htm?0689852622
NEW BOOK SHIPPING 2: HERE’S TO YOU, AMERICA
The latest in the line of paperback adaptations of the animated Peanuts specials is HERE’S TO YOU, AMERICA!, which adapts the "Birth of the Constitution" episode of the animated miniseries This Is America, Charlie Brown. I know some Peanuts fans who dislike the series because it is an odd presentation of the Peanuts characters; I like it because it’s an interesting and entertaining attempt to present history. The book adaptation is kind of funky, though. The TV episode focused on the arguments in the shaping of the Constitution, with the Peanuts gang characters hanging around Independence Hall as those arguments are going on, and providing character-oriented humor. However, to get the key tale across, most of the character bits were lost. You end up with a loose telling of the Constitutional situation with scattered Peanuts references thrown into the text: "Roger Sherman from Connecticut throught the people should be kept out of the government as much as possible. James Madison of Virginia disagreed. He felt that the people had to vote for at least one branch, or it wouldn’t be a free government at all! Linus agreed with Madison: Like a good climbing tree, the American government needed at least one branch close enough to the ground for ordinary citizens to reach with their votes." Presented this way, it doesn’t make for an entertaining story and only makes for a very slight presentation of the situation; the animated episode is certainly more entertaining and there are plenty of books for kids which would be more informative. But you do get to see a rarity: printed pictures of the Peanuts kids with adults! Paige Braddock, who usually handles the interior art on these animated adaptation, only provides the cover. The interior art adaptations are by Peter and Nick LoBianco, who usually handle the art adaptations in the Ready-to-Read books. http://AAUGH.com/go.htm?0689851634
ANOTHER SCHULZ BIO FOR KIDS
The simply-named CHARLES SCHULZ by Jim Whiting (not the cartoonist, but a writer with the same name) is a 3000 word biography of Schulz with a handful of pictures. It’s not nearly as in depth as the recently-reviewed Charles Schulz: Cartoonist And Creator Of Peanuts, but it is at least readable and overall acurate, putting it above some of the other recent bios aimed at school libraries. This might be a good book for younger kids, say 8-11, for whom the length of the more in-depth book may be too daunting. (A couple of errors did creep into this one. It lists 1990 as the year that Schulz took a vacation from the strip, when it was really 1997. And for some reason they always put the apostrophe in the wrong place when refering to Schulz’s strip "Li’l Folks".) http://AAUGH.com/go.htm?1584151315
PEANUTS GANG BOOKS CHEAP Our pals at Bookcloseouts are offering a few remaindered copies of Peanuts Gang kids storybooks at about half off the cover price — if you want these, order them quick, as they only have one or two of many of these titles: A FLYING ACE NEEDS A LOT OF ROOTBEER: http://AAUGH.com/bco.htm?0694010464 I’LL BE HOME SOON, SNOOPY: http://AAUGH.com/bco.htm?0694009121 I’VE BEEN TRADED FOR A PIZZA http://AAUGH.com/bco.htm?0694009741 SHALL WE DANCE, CHARLIE BROWN? http://AAUGH.com/bco.htm?0694010502 TRAVELS WITH MY CACTUS http://AAUGH.com/bco.htm?0694010480
They also have plenty of copies of the PEANUTS HOME COLLECTION illustrated book of Peanuts "collectibles" (oh, I hate that term. What *isn’t* collectible? I have an uncle who collects dust!) for 60% off the cover price: http://AAUGH.com/bco.htm?093062582X and an kids book from an earlier set, SNOOPY: THE WORLD’S GREATEST AUTHOR at about half off: http://AAUGH.com/bco.htm?0307039943
NAT’S DREAM FIND
I had a dream last night. I was at a library used book sale, and I was finding plenty of Peanuts books. There were books I had never heard of before, and normal books in weird editions. And when the box I was carrying was already overladen with additions to the AAUGH.com reference library, I found a section of foreign Peanuts books. I put down my box to paw through them, and just when I’d gotten an armful (mostly in languages I could not even recognize) I realize that my first box of books had disappeared. I put down the armful so I could run around looking for the box, but then someone snatched the foreign books too! When I realized this, I woke up.
So if any of you are dreaming about two piles of Peanuts books you found at a library book sale, please return them to me.
THOSE EMAILS AREN’T FROM ME
Someone in the Peanuts fan community — I’m not sure who — has apparently gotten their computer infected with the Klez virus.
Now the Klez virus is an odd one. When it infects someone’s computer, it sends out infected emails to people in their address book, which is how viruses usually spread. It pulls one other trick, however: instead of using the infected computer’s "from" address, it picks another address in the address book and uses that as the from address. If you receive an infected message from an AAUGH.com address, it does not mean that my computer is infected (I don’t even run the email program that Klez attacks). It means that someone that has both you and me and their email list has become infected. There’s nothing I can do about that, alas.
Klez can infect Windows PCs using Microsoft Outlook to handle e-mail. For information on removing a Klez infection, go to: http://downloads-zdnet.com.com/3000-2239-10104613.html
USED PEANUTS BOOK HUNTING TIP
Amazon.com actually lists a fair number of out-of-print Peanuts books. They act as a front end for a number of used bookstores. I’ve ordered through them before, and have had only good experiences — and even though the order is actually handled by some small used bookstore somewhere, handles the billing and can handle any problems, making it more reliable than dealing with an individual used bookstore directly.
To bring up a listing of all the Charles Schulz books in Amazon’s catalog, including new and used books (and titles that they do not currently have in stock, which are marked as "Limited Availability" and don’t have prices), just go to: http://AAUGH.com/listing.htm (I will caution you about being wary of any book listed as "collectible" — these include first printings of books that never had a second printing, "British" editions that turn out to be US copies that were once sent to Britain, and other editions that are described as being special but really aren’t, mixed in with ones that may be legitimately special. A good rule to follow is don’t spend serious money unless you really know what you’re getting.)
ODD PEANUTS BOOK: ME AND CHARLIE BROWN
The book ME AND CHARLIE BROWN is written by Charlie Brown — no, not the Peanuts character. This author is actually Schulz’s friend from his days working at Art Instruction School, the guy that the comics character was named after. This is Mr. Brown’s autobiography. To be more accurate, this is the first of three planned volumes of his autobiography, all of which were apparently written, although this posthumously published book from 1985 is, I believe, the only volume to be published.
The oddness of this book starts with the cover itself. First off, the title of the book doesn’t appear on the cover (front, back, or spine). Instead, it has what appears to be a black and white photo of Mr. Brown’s head, colorized, placed on a cartoon body wearing clothes like the comic strip CB, walking in front of a painted seascape. In the sky, clouds spell out CHARLIE BROWN, while a rainbow comes down striking the words A BOOK OF GOOD GRIEFS on sea mist and rocks. Or at least that’s what the words would say if the image hadn’t been too large for the space provided, running the last letters of several words off of the edge.
The text inside has a strong Catholic spiritual focus. The book was published by Entheo, a "spiritual, non-profit organization which has as one of its functions to help feed the hungry", an organization that appears to have faded into history. The text is not well written; Mr. Brown’s approach is rather scatter-shot, mixing events, views, spiritual beliefs, and quotes from others in a rather tough-to-read manner. Luckily, the part that is of most interest to the Peanuts fans is up front. By page 20, he’s done talking about his days at Art Instruction School, his friendship with Schulz, the creation of the character, and the reaction the police give you when they pull you over and you try to claim that your name is "Charlie Brown". After that, it’s more on the rest of his life — and I’ll admit that I skimmed a small amount of it, but didn’t bother trying to wade through the awkward prose to hear the story of the life and spiritual discoveries of a man who is merely a curious adjunct to my real interest.
The unpublished later volumes would’ve included a chapter on Frieda Rich, the coworker from Art Instruction whose name popped up in Peanuts.
The poor quality of the text does not mean that there is nothing of interest here. There is some slightly illuminating discussion on the contrast between the religious beliefs of Mr. Schulz and Mr. Brown, and also a few paragraphs quoted from an article on Schulz that was published before Peanuts emerged. There are also a couple interesting photos.
I certainly can’t blame Mr. Brown for not focusing his autobiography on the small portion of his life he spent with Schulz — but in the end, this book is more of interest to me as an oddity and curiosity than as a truly engrossing volume.
If anyone else is interested in purchasing a copy, drop me a line and I should be able to steer you toward a source.
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?
After last newsletter’s announcement that I would be talking about Peanuts books at the Schulz Museum, I got email asking me just what I’ll be talking about. I don’t have the whole thing planned out yet, but it will probably be a basic history of Peanuts books, an explanation of the different strip reprint series, and some discussion of some of the odder and more interesting Peanuts books in the AAUGH.com reference library (much along the lines of the Odd Peanuts Book feature in the newsletter, and likely covering the same books.) I’ll have an interesting chunk of the reference library with me to hold up as examples, and I’ll field questions from the audience and provide answers when I can and make up convincing-but-wrong replies when I can’t. I doubt that there will be anything that will comes as a revelation to regular newsletter readers, but I hope to make it entertaining.
Well, that’s the news and notes for now. Yes, I know, the news has been a little on the boring side for a while now — a regular cycle of animated adaptations, Ready-To-Read books, and bios for school libraries. Try as I may, they won’t let me just invent new books for them to publish. I’ll see what I can do to shake some more interesting news loose.
And remember, if you’re changing your email address LET ME KNOW! Otherwise, the newsletter won’t reach you. (Some of you are sick of hearing this, but I lose subscribers every issue this way.) And while you’re at it, keeping hitting me with your questions’n’suggestions, your comments’n’complaints. Send everything to nat@AAUGH.com
–Nat proprietor http://AAUGH.com