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A Charlie Brown Christmas Paperback – September 27, 2005

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The most popular Christmas TV special of all time, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is viewed every year by millions, young and old. Especially poignant this year both because of the show’s anniversary and the recent death of creator Charles “Sparky” Schulz on the day of his official farewell Sunday strip, the 40th anniversary of this heartwarming, moving, often hilariously funny and sophisticated animated cartoon will be marked by the publication of our four-color gift book, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Featuring more than 150 never-before-reproduced in book form four-color frames from the animated cartoon, the original script, pieces of Vince Guaraldi’s musical score with handwritten behind-the-scenes production notes, interviews with some of the original “child” actors (who had lent their voices to the first-ever animated cartoon to feature real children), an introduction by the cartoon’s executive producer Lee Mendelson, reminiscences by original Peanuts animator Bill Melendez, and much more. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a fitting salute to the artist who forever changed the face of cartooning, and to the annual Christmas event that the Peanuts gang have celebrated for the last 35 years. It is a must-have for all Peanuts fans, young and old.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan/HarperCollins Publishers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006076659X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060766597
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In the television show, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas and helps infuse it into all the Peanuts gang. Like many people, he's a little down in the dumps over the upcoming holiday season, but with his good heart he soon finds a way to seek out Christmas in his own way by getting a real tree rather than the artificial one that Lucy sent him for.
If you are like me, you have watched and enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas many times since it premiered in 1965. Now, you can have this experience every day with this remarkable keepsake album. Everything about the book is first-class and a joy. Do be kind to your family and friends who like Peanuts and give them this book.
The book contains the whole illustrated script of the show, which brings the experience of watching the show back very literally. You also get the lyrics and music to "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Linus and Lucy." I could hear the music in my head for days after reading the book. You can, of course, play and sing these songs for yourself, as well.
There are also a lot of background sketches, story boards, and production sheets to help you understand the development and production process better. I found these to be interesting and valuable additions to the book.
I also enjoyed learning more about the decision to integrate jazz and classical music into the show. The remembrances about Vince Guraldi, who wrote the music, added to my understanding of why this is a great story.
To me, though, the best parts were the memories of Charles "Sparky" Schulz by producer Lee Mendelson and animator (and voice of Snoopy) Bill Melendez. This material integrates the story back into Mr. Schulz's basic religious values.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on November 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Reading "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on a dark Sunday afternoon in November is a bit like owning a DVD crammed with special features. This gorgeously-designed hardcover, with glossy pages and a heavy silver dustjacket, is a terrific companion to the TV special, and an almost essential shelf companion to "Peanuts: A Golden Celebration".
Anything you'd want to know about the "Christmas" TV special is in this book -- lengthy interviews with producer Lee Mendelson (a veteran of Peanuts anniversary books) and animator Bill Melendez. Charles M Schulz passed away before the book was written, but there are plenty of rarely-seen photos of him taken in the 1960s. There's a chapter on Vince Guaraldi, whose jazz soundtrack defines the lives of many "Peanuts" fans; interviews with some of the children who voiced the characters; and, O happy day, sheet music! The second half of the book contains the complete script for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" itself, along with dozens of photos and animated sequences, taken from the original cels.
"Christmas" is not for small children (unless they're reading it with you), and there are a couple of misprints (including, in my first edition, a caption for a photo that's not in the book!). But it's lovely to look at, and when I put it down finally, reluctantly, I was whistling the soundtrack and hearing Linus's nativity speech (and I'm Jewish!). These days you can buy it for about as much as the DVD costs, and it's a wonderful Christmas gift. Unless, of course, the person you're buying it for already owns it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Red State Gal on November 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book yesterday, and it's beautifully done. Includes entire script of film with glossy prints of many cells. Includes sheet music and production notes as well as many wonderful photos and reminicenses of how the film came to be. I'm enjoying it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Langan on December 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is for anybody who's seen A Charlie Brown Christmas virtually every year it's been on TV or via VHS or DVD.

It includes storyboards of the Ford commercials which featured Linus and Lucy back in 1962 (3 years before this classic TV special debuted). Not only that, it features advertisements in TV guide, an interview with Bill Melendez, who animated all the Peanuts specials and films up to Charles Schulz's untimely death in 2000), and a few essays from Lee Mendelson, who worked side by side with Melendez on each of the specials. It also features a few words from Peter Robins (the 1st voice of Charlie Brown) and Chris Shea (who played Linus). You also get a tribute to Vince Guaraldi who composed the music (not to mention that it includes the sheet music for "Linus and Lucy" and "Christmastime Is Here"). This book mentions how they came up with the adult "voices" in the specials and Schulz's conditions on working on Charlie Brown Christmas (one was that real children would do the kids' voices, and another was that the Gospel of Luke was present in the script in order to remind the audience the true meaning of Christmas).

Most importantly, this book includes the entire script of Charlie Brown Christmas with stills from the special. In essence, there is enough information for you to cast your own stage production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. There is one slight error in the script, however- the Peanuts gang is not humming "O Little Town of Bethelehem" at the finale but "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" (unless this was written in the original script and changed at the last minute). Finally, turn the pages and you'll see Snoopy cause Charlie Brown to crash into the tree in the one scene that begins the special!

Recommended to all Peanuts collectors and all who love the classic special that started it all for Peanuts animation.
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