Review: Snoopy’s Thanksgiving
By Charles M. Schulz
Now here’s something to be thankful for—the fourth in Fantagraphics’ growing line of seasonal-themed gift books collecting classic Peanuts material. Snoopy’s Thanksgiving, as the title indicates, is concerned with next month’s big holiday.
While there was, of course, an animated Peanuts holiday special about Thanksgiving—1973’s A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving—it doesn’t loom as large in the popular imagination as Charles Schulz’s interpretation of Christmas and Halloween, disseminated not only through his comic strips but also through the more popular specials A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
That makes the strips collected herein of perhaps particular interest, as many of the jokes are ones that won’t be quite as familiar to many Peanuts fans. Additionally, the spotlight is spread particularly far around in this particular collection, with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Woodstock and even Snoopy’s heavily-whiskered brother Spike getting strips or runs of strips to star in.
As with the previous books in the line, Snoopy’s Thanksgiving is a slim, square hardcover, in which a majority of the strips consist of four-panel dailies chopped up and rearranged into squares, with a few deviations for the sake of variety, including strips in which each panel occupies its own page, and a Sunday strip or two finding its way in as well.
There’s no real overarching storyline. The closest the book comes to a narrative arc is the opening story, in which Spike invites Snoopy to come out to the desert to have Thanksgiving dinner with him and the coyotes. Snoopy agrees, wearing his dog dish as a hat and carrying a glass of water and Linus’s blanket with him (much to Linus’s consternation, of course). Meanwhile, Spike gets worried that Snoopy won’t make it, and so he comes looking for Snoopy, the pair passing each other on the way.
In other strips Linus addresses turkey cards, various characters react negatively to Christmas commercialism intruding on Thanksgiving, Peppermint Patty and Marcie try to play football and get sick over Thanksgiving break, and, in a long-ish running gag, Woodstock is alternately angered and alarmed by a holiday that includes the ritual consumption of a bird. The little bird copes by hiding and disguising himself…and occasionally running up to a confused human character and kicking them.
Oh, Snoopy attempts to write a Thanksgiving story, at Lucy’s suggestion: “It was a dark and stormy night… Suddenly, a turkey rang out!”
“Thanksgiving stories are hard to write,” Snoopy decides after crumpling up his second attempt and tossing it over his shoulder.
You wouldn’t know it by reading the super-short stories Schulz wrote (and drew!) that can be found in this little volume.
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About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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