From School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—With baseball season gearing up, Charlie Brown steps up to manage his ragtag team of players. Schulz was perhaps one of the greatest ambassadors of the game, and who better than his iconic character to depict the fickle winds of fame and glory. Three short stories comprise this collection of tales from the field as Charlie tries to instill some discipline into the always distracted Lucy, some hustle into the blanket-dependent Linus, and some compliance from his comic foil, Snoopy. Despite best efforts, the boy hits rock bottom after losing a game with 600 to zero. Just as he hopes to rally his downtrodden players, his mother makes him push Lucy in a stroller instead. How can he be expected to manage his team? Good grief! The genius of Schulz is the pathos of Charlie Brown. When he laments, "Life is just too much for me," readers will understand. The author doesn't patronize the difficulties of the young. This gift book is a departure from the publisher's collective volumes of Schulz's work, in an attempt to reach other audiences. The only problem with this edition is that it contains no original copyright dates. Comic aficionados will be frustrated with not having a sense of where and when to place these strips in the overall scope of the cartoonist's oeuvre. Save up for Fantagraphics's complete volumes instead.—Meg Allison, The Moretown School, VT
About the Author
Charles M. Schulz was born November 25, 1922, in Minneapolis. His destiny was foreshadowed when an uncle gave him, at the age of two days, the nickname Sparky (after the racehorse Spark Plug in the newspaper strip Barney Google).In his senior year in high school, his mother noticed an ad in a local newspaper for a correspondence school, Federal Schools (later called Art Instruction Schools). Schulz passed the talent test, completed the course, and began trying, unsuccessfully, to sell gag cartoons to magazines. (His first published drawing was of his dog, Spike, and appeared in a 1937 Ripley's Believe It or Not! installment.) Between 1948 and 1950, he succeeded in selling 17 cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post―as well as, to the local St. Paul Pioneer Press, a weekly comic feature called Li'l Folks. It was run in the women's section and paid $10 a week. After writing and drawing the feature for two years, Schulz asked for a better location in the paper or for daily exposure, as well as a raise. When he was turned down on all three counts, he quit.He started submitting strips to the newspaper syndicates. In the spring of 1950, he received a letter from the United Feature Syndicate, announcing their interest in his submission, Li'l Folks. Schulz boarded a train in June for New York City; more interested in doing a strip than a panel, he also brought along the first installments of what would become Peanuts―and that was what sold. (The title, which Schulz loathed to his dying day, was imposed by the syndicate.) The first Peanuts daily appeared October 2, 1950; the first Sunday, January 6, 1952.Diagnosed with cancer, Schulz retired from Peanuts at the end of 1999. He died on February 13, 2000, the day before Valentine's Day―and the day before his last strip was published―having completed 17,897 daily and Sunday strips, each and every one fully written, drawn, and lettered entirely by his own hand―an unmatched achievement in comics.