As promised, I now have the First Biographies book on Charles M. Schulz. This is the youngest-aimed of the school Schulz bios yet, giving us 186 words aimed at kids in the pre-kindergarten through second grade range. It’s about the size of a Little Golden Book (for those used to kids books) with a glossy, jacketless hardcover. And, as seems common with these things, it’s a mite too organized — the 186 words are broken down into five chapters, with nineteen index entries, a glossary, and a list of three other school-oriented Schulz bios for those interested in reading more.
The reading is easy and, well, largely accurate. I’m willing to consider the claim that the first Peanuts cartoon was on TV in 1965 to be a judgment call (the earlier Peanuts animations on TV were for ads.) And when they say about the strip “The publisher named it Peanuts,” I’m really tempted to let that go as a judgment call, to say that they didn’t want to explain the difference between a syndicate and a publisher. But when the word publisher is included in the glossary and fairly accurately defined, then it’s clear that there is a difference between the two concepts.
But thinking about it, I have to take away the benefit of the doubt on the first judgment call. In the glossary, cartoon is defined as a funny drawing. Give that the word is only used three times in the book (see, the index does come in handy), it should apply to all of them — and certainly, 1965 was not the first time a funny drawing of Peanuts was on TV.
And then the glossary defines comic strip as a story told using panels of cartoons, which suggests that if the drawings aren’t funny (as per the previous definition), then it’s not a comic strip. Take that, Mary Worth!
Well, that’s more words about the book than the book has words about Schulz (although admittedly, there’s has pictures, and they’re better chosen than some of these kiddie biographies.) Still, I can’t say that a kid would get much out of it. There’s not much story shown in the story of his life, and no real exposure of his character. A Peanuts storybook would likely be of much more interest to your kids than this. So this is another book that’s only for the maniacal collector… like me.