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Outline ReviewJust like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Valentine, this illustrated read-along seeks to re-create the popular Peanuts TV show of the same name. This edition also includes a four-song sampler CD from jazz-great Vince Guaraldi's brilliant soundtrack.
With illustrator Paige Braddock aping Charles Schulz's style, A Charlie Brown Christmas retells the Emmy Award-winning program blow-by-blow (with a few omissions), from the ice-skating opening scene to preparations for the school pageant to Charlie Brown's ill-fated Christmas tree rescue. Braddock almost perfectly mimics the show's cast and backdrops, but just as no one could be fooled by even expert impersonation of a loved one, Peanuts fans might find the niggling differences distracting (whether it's Schroeder's too-wavy hair or Pig Pen's just-too-small head).
A "novelization" like this probably can't ever hope to completely recapture the charm of the original, even if it had used Schulz's original art. Although the dialogue has been faithfully reproduced, much of the story's subtle appeal and cultural subtext gets lost in the book's simplified exposition--which is too bad, given that these are precisely the qualities which have made the show (and Schulz's timeless strip) so durable and well-loved in the first place. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes
Everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit -- except for Charlie Brown. It seems like everybody has forgotten what Christmas is truly about. But Lucy, Linus, and the whole Peanuts gang have some holiday surprises that will make even Charlie Brown feel merry!
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