Peanuts, 2000: The 50th Year of the World's Most Favorite Comic Strip Featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts Gang

Overview

"Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy . . .
how can I ever forget them. . . ."
—CHARLES SCHULZ

How could any of us ever forget them? For fifty years, Charles Schulz and the whole Peanuts gang have delighted millions of readers around the world. Now, in celebration of the artist who quickly became a national treasure, this special anniversary volume brings together for the first time in book form, the last year ...

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Overview

"Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy . . .
how can I ever forget them. . . ."
—CHARLES SCHULZ

How could any of us ever forget them? For fifty years, Charles Schulz and the whole Peanuts gang have delighted millions of readers around the world. Now, in celebration of the artist who quickly became a national treasure, this special anniversary volume brings together for the first time in book form, the last year of the Peanuts comic strip. With Peanuts 2000, there's no need to say goodbye to old friends.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This one-of-a-kind collection of beloved illustrator Charles Schulz's work features rare comic strips, photographs, and other memorabilia, including images from Schulz's private scrapbook of his Li'l Folks strips, which predate his popular Peanuts characters. Early sketches of Charlie Brown and other favorites from the Peanuts strips are a real delight. On a poignant note, several of the last drawings Schulz produced before he died are included in the book, along with photographs of Schulz's studio, which his wife Jean has preserved exactly as he left it. With an introduction by Jean Schulz and more than 400 illustrations, Peanuts is the ultimate celebration of Schulz's timeless drawings.
Library Journal
Good grief! Over 500 comic strips, early prototypes of Peanuts, and more. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345442390
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: 50th Celebration
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 357,600
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles M. Schulz was born in 1922 in Minneapolis, the only child of a housewife and a barber. His interest in comics was encouraged by his father, who loved the funny pages. After army duty, Schulz lettered comic pages for Timeless Topix, and sold seventeen cartoons to The Saturday Evening Post from 1948 to 1950 and a feature, Li'l Folks, to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Peanuts debuted on October 2, 1950, and ran without interruption for the next fifty years. Schulz died on February 12, 2000, and his last strip ran the next day. Peanuts has appeared in 2,600 newspapers in seventy-five countries.
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction
By Jean Schulz

Sparky was a genius.

That is the answer to the unanswerable questions of "why" and "how." I recognized it when I first knew him, I spent the next 25 years asking the same things others ask, and always came back to the same answer. The essence of his genius is: We can't know it, quantify it, explain it; we can, simply, enjoy it. If those of us who are part of his circle puzzle over the questions and struggle for answers, no one struggled more than Sparky himself.

He understood intuitively things he couldn't explain. Things he couldn't even put into words. He could go only so far as to answer the perennial question "Where do your ideas come from?"

The ideas Sparky used are out there in the world. We all know them and that is why we relate to them. It is the particular twist Sparky put to the ideas that described his genius, and that draws us, enchanted, into his frame.

I believe there are people of genius around us, but few are fortunate enough to have their genius match the moment. A thousand years ago, Sparky would have been a storyteller, the person in the tribe or the clan who collected the tribal lore and repeated it for each generation. He understood instinctively the value of the story which illustrates a human truth, and which allows his listeners to take from it what they need at the time. The best stories can be told over and over again -- forever new -- because the listener changes.

Sparky loved his Big-Little Books when he was small, when he was in high school he escaped into the world of Sherlock Holmes, and always he loved adventure comics. He actually wanted to draw an adventure strip, but it was the wistful, innocent way he illustrated an emotion, expressed through the eyes of a small person, that caught the attention of the comics editors. And so it was children he drew on for his cartoons.

Children, he would have told you, are simply adults "with the lids still on." He believed firmly that we are the product of our genes and that all of the characteristics are there within us as children, simmering, waiting to emerge. So the envy and anger expressed in "Good Ol' Charlie Brown. How I hate him" in the first strip, shocks us, but Sparky knew, whether or not we want to admit it, children feel that emotion. When Sparky saw a child with a very strong personality, he observed how difficult that person would be "when the lid comes off."

Sparky loved to sit in his ice arena over lunch and have an interesting and varied group around, and he was very good in front of an audience. He knew how to draw his story out to hold people's attention. His directness enlivened any conversation and he probed others with questions. In these situations he was like the storyteller of old -- interacting with his audience in a very intimate way.

But the comic strip is a long way from the storyteller of a thousand years ago. The cartoonist puts his drawings and words on paper and it is weeks before his audience sees them. Immediacy and personality must be elucidated in a different way. The comic strip storyteller of 20th century America has to tell a story that stretches across 3000 miles, and draw scenes of snow pranks that make people laugh in Hawaii as well as in Vermont or Michigan.

Like the novelist, the cartoonist must go into himself or herself, and draw upon what is there. It is a solitary craft.

Sparky frequently wasn't sure if something he'd drawn was funny. Certainly he'd receive feedback, but it would be months later. The spontaneity was missing. Often I'd stop at his studio and look over a stack of dailies on his desk. When I laughed out loud, or told him how funny I thought they were, he was truly grateful. "Oh, I'm so glad you think it's funny. I'm never sure," he'd say. He loved people's positive responses, and at the same time, he had to shut out the voices. He had to draw what he thought was funny and hope that his audience liked it too. He was always glad to know people liked his characters or a particular storyline, but he knew he couldn't write to that audience; he always wrote for himself.

He began quite early in his career to use biblical references. Occasionally, someone would write to say, "How dare you use religious material in a comic strip?" His response was that as long as he had used the reference with integrity, he was satisfied that he was on firm ground. On the other hand, once in the 70s, he used a take-off on the title I Heard the Owl Call My Name. He got a letter saying this was a sacred phrase in a Native American tribe. Sparky wrote an apology. He admitted he hadn't realized that he was overstepping propriety.

Sparky sometimes tried out an idea on me or others. For example he'd say, "How would it be if Charlie Brown goes to camp and meets this other kid who won't say anything except 'Shut up and leave me alone.'?" Well, it's difficult to imagine that as a funny storyline, but I knew better than to say no, and of course, because of the funny drawing and the particular way he paced the strip and the story, it became a funny sequence. If this or any new character made for a good storyline, Sparky might go back and resurrect the character a year later for a second camp episode, but more often than not, that first appearance would be the last. He explained that the character was too one-dimensional to create opportunities for humor.

In order to produce a strip every day, he had to rely on characters whose personalities themselves engendered ideas. Sparky always had a pen handy to write down any notions that came to him, or if we were in the car he'd ask me to write for him. Frequently, at the symphony, I'd see him reach into his pocket for his pad and pencil. On the way home he'd tell me the idea he had -- but what he related to me at the time was only the germ of what would become a fully realized daily or Sunday page. He could come up with ideas from almost any situation because his characters had such distinct personalities and idiosyncrasies.

As much as most of us are drawn to the personalities and the situations and the lines the characters deliver, Sparky was always quick to point out that the appeal of Peanuts is still funny drawing. He would use a yellow lined pad to "doodle," drawing the characters in antic poses, rolling over, flying upside down, etc. These provided him with ideas.

When the strip ended, the response was overwhelming. Sparky touched people deeply and often changed their lives, as the thousands of letters attested:

"I remember [as a child] often being consumed by feelings of profound anxiety and unrest, and yet as soon as I could come home to read my Peanuts books, I was peaceful, even happy."

"When I was about 11 years old I had to go into the hospital and I was very scared. My mother had to leave me after visiting hours, but my stuffed Snoopy didn't. I held it all night long."

"I often identified with Charlie Brown's feelings of inadequacy, of not fitting in anywhere. And my favorite character was always Linus, who was sensible but had an almost magical sense of the power of his innocence and imagination."

"Charlie Brown and the gang were a solace and a balm to my soul. I always wanted to tell this to Mr. Schulz. So now I tell you."

Sparky once said, "I would be satisfied if they wrote on my tombstone 'He made people happy.' "

He did that, and so much more.

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2002

    Lots of fun!

    This is a great collection of Peanuts comic strips never before presented in book form. They are hilarious and all of them are in color. Mr. Schulz's goodbye strip announcing his retirement is also included. There are 10 blank pages in the back of the book, but that's no big deal since the rest of the book is filled with the unforgettably hilarious adventures and foibles of the Peanuts gang. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2001

    Check That You Got the Printing with the Final Sunday Strip!

    When I got this wonderful volume, I decided to read it from front to back and not skip to the final Sunday strip. Was I disappointed when the final strip was missing! Apparently, this problem has been corrected in subsequent printings and the final strip is available on the official Peanuts Web site. If yours is missing, be sure to return it for the correct version (unless you think this error-ridden first printing will become a collectors' item, and more valuable). Authors should take note of this problem, and be sure that someone very capable takes over watching your publisher for quality issues after you are deceased. As a further example of this problem, Ansel Adams books are often printed on pages that are much too small for the images now, even though he went to great lengths to avoid having the quality of his work compromised. I enjoyed seeing this volume. It is comprised of all the strips from the final year (if you get the right version). More than that, it was a microcosm of 50 years of Peanuts. Here are some examples: Charlie Brown: 'If I ever got a [love letter], I don't know what I'd do.' Lucy: 'I'm thinking of starting a discussion group . . . People would come from all around to listen to me.' Sally speaking on her string telephone: 'How do you get an outside line?' Snoopy to Woodstock while making a sled out of a water dish: 'Go ahead . . . Climb in -- Sorry . . . I forgot to pour the water out . . .' Rerun: When told by his teacher to paint flowers -- 'I don't do flowers . . . I do underground comics.' Marcie (reacting to plans to play Mary in the Christmas play): 'There is no Christmas play, sir . . . That was last year.' My favorite sequence involved several strips with Charlie Brown and Lucy at the pitcher's mound under a snowy cover speculating about the upcoming baseball season. If you are like me, Peanuts will be with you forever! I also recommend that you get a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It has wonderful background material about Mr. Schulz and Peanuts that nicely complement this collection of the last strips. After you have finished enjoying both books, I suggest that you think about how things would have turned out differently with the strip if the characters have overcome their fundamental weaknesses. What if Charlie Brown had not been so gullible? What if Lucy had been more considerate? What if someone had sent Charlie Brown a valentine? After you've thought about it, then ask yourself what it is that you should change about yourself that would open up the possibilities for someone else. Then go make those changes. That would be a wonderful thing to do, and a great way to honor your affection for Peanuts. Good luck in kicking your next football! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    The funniest of the Peanuts!!

    I use this book for reading when I am upset because it makes me laugh. I also just read it for fun. It is really funny. Every once and awhile i will even trace some pictures that I like. My favorite Character is Snoopy. I think anyone who has every felt like reading an easy or funny book will love this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    THE ORIGINALS ARE THE BEST

    THESE COMICS WERE OKAY BUT THE ORIGINALS FROM THE 60'S AND 70'S (NO RERUN CHARACTER) I FOUND TO BE A LITTLE MORE FUNNY.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2006

    'Like a watching a MOVIE!'

    If you are like me, when reading Peanuts you feel like your watching a movie. I highly recommend this book, but then again I would recommend any Peanuts book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2000

    it is woderful!

    Allright I have to make the note that ballantine´s have solved the problem with the lost pages(including the last strip), so now the book is as it was intended to be, a nice and excellent compilation of the last year of peanuts before charles schulz passing away, it is a real shame that they are no longer with us...have a great time with this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2000

    AAUGH! The last 10 pages are blank!

    This would be a five-star book if all the pages had actually been printed, but the last 10 pages of the book are blank! The back cover promises all of the strips from the last year of Peanuts including the final farewell strip, but that strip and the last 10 pages of strips are missing! Ballantine should recall all of the first editions, because they are ALL like this. What an error! I hope they print a corrected second edition soon, because, aside from the missing pages it is a beautiful book. All of the strips are in full color--even the dailies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2009

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    Posted April 27, 2010

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