New Snoopy Collection is All About Camp

by L.A. Mood Comics and Games

By Dan Brown

If you have a little ones at home who are going to sleepover camp for the first time this summer, you might want to get them a copy of Snoopy: Beagle Scout Adventures before they depart.

Packed with 164 pages of cartoons, this latest Peanuts Kids Collection from Andrews McMeel Publishing will help get your child in the right frame of mind.

Going to camp can be a big step, but this book teaches that it can be a fun adventure – despite the drawbacks, like missing family.

“Everyone in the world is lonely,” Snoopy tells one of his little yellow bird friends while in the bush after they have crawled into their sleeping bags. “Try to think of something nice.”

Snoopy’s feathered charge responds that a hot fudge sundae would help him get over his loneliness.

That’s just one example of Charles Schulz’s gentle, philosophical humour.
Nor is it just Snoopy who leaves home in this anthology. Charlie Brown, Linus and Peppermint Patty are among the other Peanuts characters who get a taste of the camp life.

On the first night in his bunk, Linus despairs. “What if my mother and dad move away while I’m gone, and don’t tell me?’’

Those are some pretty grownup feelings!

Now, you might think Linus would get grief for dragging his security blanket around, but in one strip he cracks it like a whip, separating a branch from a tree. “They won’t tease me more than once,” he says calmly after the display of pinpoint accuracy.

This collection, which landed at the end of April, was promoted in a Free Comic Book Day sampler a couple weeks ago. After checking out the freebie, I knew I had to get a copy of the book because I’m a big fan of Snoop’s imagination-driven outings.

You never know for sure in Schulz’s cartoons what is real and what is a flight of fantasy, which is part of his work’s appeal.

These cartoons are presented in colour, as opposed to their original black-and-white newspaper appearances. And they have the dates removed from them, which left me wondering if young readers will get all of Schulz’s references.
When he shows Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister, in a bean-bag chair watching TV, do they know it was a piece of furniture popularized in the 1970s? Do they know what “videotape” is? Do they still write letters?

Charlie Brown himself considers going to Canada as a way to avoid having to go to camp, but will kids today understand Schulz is making a Vietnam Era draft-dodging reference?

Comic books are mentioned more than once.

In one panel, Marcie describes what’s happening in a comic book to Peppermint Patty: “It’s where Spiderperson is on this bridge and . . . “ Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but could that line be an allusion to the Gwen Stacy storyline in Marvel Comics?

Schulz’s religious references are also impossible to miss.

“I think it’s a sin to be bored,” Snoopy tells Woodstock and his fellow birds as they march through the woods, the beagle awed at the beauty of nature around them.
The genius of Peanuts is that it speaks to readers at different times in their life.
I originally fell in love with Snoopy and the gang when I was delivering the London Free Press as a grade-school kid. Back then, Peanuts made me laugh.
When I read a book like Beagle Scout Adventures as an adult, I fall in love with Charles Schulz’s creations all over again. Today, Schulz’s cartoons makes me feel, and think.

So once you’ve packed your kid one off to camp, take the book and read it yourself – as a way to keep from missing the wee ones too much.

Dan Brown has covered pop culture for more than 31 years as a journalist and also moderates L.A. Mood’s monthly graphic-novel group.

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