Charlie Brown gets two christmases

In this issue:







This year’s two Christmas-themed Peanuts books are now
shipping. A PEANUTS CHRISTMAS, a large 192 page hardcover
which collects Christmas-themed Peanuts strips from the
feature’s entire run, is probably of more interest to
most of you. It can be found at

Also now shipping is the deluxe version of the kids
adaptation of the classic TV special A CHARLIE BROWN
CHRISTMAS. This new edition comes with a CD with
tunes from the special.



According to the excerpt on the website for Little Simon,
the publishing imprint putting out the A Charlie Brown
Christmas book, the text includes the line:

“Everyone laughed at the skinny tee — even Scoopy!”

Ah, yes, the scene where all the kids and Scoopy laugh
at the Christmas tee… the memories it brings back!
(Don’t worry; this is just a website error. It’s not
in the book.)

Maybe they were thinking of Scoopy-Doo…



Last newsletter, I wrote that the DVD of BE MY VALENTINE,
CHARLIE BROWN was not yet available for preorder. Within
hours after my writing that, it was made available for
preorder, making me look like a durned fool.

So yes, you can now preorder that DVD, which includes the
additional animated specials YOU’RE IN LOVE, CHARLIE BROWN

Order now, and the disk will ship when it’s released in
early January.



This new book leads off with two introductions about
how Peanuts creator Charles Schulz felt about literature
and how he felt inferior to “real” writers. However,
the heart of the book is not about Schulz, it’s about
Snoopy. This hardcover with 188 horizontal black and white
pages mixes reprints of Peanuts strips with short essays
by dozens of famous authors responding to individual
strips, giving Snoopy lessons on how to work around common
writing problems.

This book is intended as a gift for writers, and it makes
a reasonable one. It is a book that is nice to put on
the coffee table, reading a few strips or an essay
or two as the mood grabs you. It really isn’t well suited
to being read cover to cover; after a while, many of the
writing strips seem redundant when read in quick repetition.
The writing advice is never too deep, but generally what
readers need is straightforward advice. Most essayists
focus on their own specialty, such as David Michaelis
(currently working on a major Schulz biography)
discussing the attitude you must have to write biographies.
However, the quality of the advice varies greatly, with
some writers giving nothing more than vague charges to keep
things interesting while others deal in far more concrete
advice. As with any artistic advice, don’t just swallow
everything you are told; weigh each piece of advice
against your own emotional reaction to it.

The book is designed, but unlike some books the design
features don’t interfere with reading the strips,
which is good news all around. They did make the odd
decision of pulling quotes from each short essay and
inserting them as highlights, as you will often see
in magazines. However, the “highlight” versions are
in text not much larger than the normal version, so
the whole effect of grabbing your attention for an
interesting excerpt is lost.

So if you’re particularly fond of Snoopy as writer, or
if you have writers on your gift list, then this book
is worth grabbing. With about 180 strips at a cover
price of just under $20 (although you can order it
at a substantial discount at the link below!) it’s not a
bargain for those who just want a bunch of strips — better
to pick up Peanuts Treasury or Peanuts: The Art Of Charles
M. Schulz if that is what you seek.

Order this book at:



One of the things that keeps collecting books interesting,
lively, frustrating, or confusing, depending on one’s
view, is the variations that take what some might consider
to be the same books and makes them different books. On
my Peanuts book collectors guide, I’ve tried to cover
when there are very different books with the same title,
or substantial variation in contents (when there’s an
abridged version of a book available, for instance.)

However, I am not (yet) tracking all of the variations
that occur on a book as it’s reprinted over the years. Some
are pretty minor, such as changes in price or cover design.
Others are more significant, particularly to someone who
is trying to collect a set of something and may end up with
books that don’t look like much of a set.

As an example of the latter, I present the following
picture, taken of three copies of the same book
(Charlie Brown’s All-Stars) from the same publisher

And if you think the indica is going to help you keep
things straight, think again. Both of the smaller
versions of this book are listed as “First Edition”
on the copyright page, even though they are clearly
different editions. I *think* the center version
actually came first, as the smaller version’s copyright
page includes the info that it is “A Read Aloud And
Easy Reading Program Selection”, a claim that did not
surface on the mid-sized version.

The largest version of this 1966 book was printed in
1972, part of a set of oversized versions apparently
sold in supermarkets.

(If you don’t have this book, let me point out that the
character at the far left of the cover image is 5, a
character whose name was a brief novelty in the strip
but who seemed to show up as a background character
for almost two decades!)

I am hoping to eventually list all editions and variations
on the list. At the moment, I’m finally starting to work
up a grid that will make it clearer which animated specials
are adapted in each line of animation-based books. Life
is hectic, however, so no promises that this will be
available soon.


Well, that’s all the news for now. As always, there is
the scent of more news coming ’round the corner, so
I have my ear to the ground, my shoulder to the wheel,
my nose to the grindstone, and boy do I have trouble
getting to sleep in that position!

A big thanks to those of you who have been recommending
this newsletter to your friends. Another big thanks
to those who go to and click through
on a book even when you’re going to order some non-Peanuts
item from Amazon; the extra money helps me keep the site

As always, please send your questions, comments, suggestions,
complaints, and e-mail address changes to




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