Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown

I love Peanuts. Always have. In fact, if I could be any comic strip character, I'd be the Phantom. But if I could be another, I'd be Snoopy.

So with an undying love for all things Charles Shultz in my heart, I just can't pass up any of these vintage Peanuts paperbacks whenever I find them. This little gem was one that I remembered from my grade school days, having checked out all of the Peanuts books several times between 1st and 5th grade, that I'm sure I've read this one about eight times.

Scholastic released this book in a series based on the extremely popular Peanuts TV specials, which included stills taken from Bill Melendez's original animation cels. Here we see Shermie (yes, that's his name), Linus, Charlie Brown, Pig Pen and Schroder roasting up marshmallows on the cover...

This is a classic going-to-summer-camp tale (not to be confused with the better known, and frankly better all around, Peanuts summer camp special, Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown), and is packed with color illustrations throughout.

Unlike many Peanuts paperbacks, which are usually reprints of the classic strips (I have a ton of those, too), these books were presented in storybook style for young readers (or geeky collectors, like me).

The real beauty of some of these books were the occasional calm moment of sublime illustration without the need for words...

If you're having trouble remembering this TV special, this was the one were the whole camp was taken over by arm-wrestling fever (or "wrist wrestling", as they say in the show), leading the champion, Lucy, to face off with the "Masked Marvel", who no one ever identified as Snoopy.

The match was riveting!

Of course, Snoopy eventually did things his way...

Causing Lucy to call foul...

This book is a perfect storm of nostalgia for me from the TV specials, to the book itself to my own epic memories of Summer Camp. Not that we did any "wrist wrestling".

Thanks for reading!