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Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown!

Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie BrownPeanuts: Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown!
By: Charles M. Schulz and Various
Publisher: BOOM! Studios/kaboom!
Format: HC/SC, 7 x 10, 96 pages, Full Color, $19.99/$9.99
ISBN: HC: 978-1-60886-682-3/SC: 978-1-60886-681-6

I imagine that many of us can say we are fans of Peanuts and its creator Charles M. Schulz. In my humble opinion, I would go as far as to say both as a child and as an adult I am a lifelong fan of Peanuts. Regardless of age and regardless of where I am at in my life (a high point or a low point) Peanuts has never failed to bring a smile to my face and a sense of warmth to my heart.  

Published almost a decade after the loss of one of America's most influential comic strip artists, readers of all ages have a brand-new chance to enjoy Schulz's Peanuts once again. For the first time in graphic novel format, Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown! has been thoughtfully crafted and adapted from original Schulz comic strips by Stephan Pastis and Craig Schulz. And here's where the review comes into play . . . .

The first time I heard that Schulz' comic strips had been cobbled together to make a graphic novel for a new generation of readers I was a bit skeptical and thought: Could anyone, even members of his own family, possibly be able to capture the purity and the creativity - the sheer simple brilliance - of Schulz' original work?

After reading Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown! I can now answer my own question with a resounding: ABSOLUTELY YES! Thoughtfully crafted to focus on one of our favorite characters and his adored blanket, this new Peanuts graphic novel asks us to think about life in general, and the simple purity of being your own, unique self:

• Why is Linus always carrying his blanket?
• What makes Linus' blanket so special?
• And why, despite our own inevitable aging and generational growth that tells us our own children need to grow out of the "blanket" stage, do we still want Linus to keep his blanket?

With a nostalgic glance and tribute to one of the all-time best comic artists of all time, Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown! belongs in every classroom, library, and home.  It's a must-read for every generation of readers.  

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: With his grandmother coming to town expecting him to be over his blanket obsession the whole Peanuts gang try to help (or accidentally foible) Linus' attempts to hide his blanket from his grandmother.  

Setting: the wonderful world of Peanuts

Major Characters: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Pigpen, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Sally Brown, Violet, Woodstock, and Linus and Peppermint Patty's grandma

Themes: Coming of Age, Family, Decision-making, Individualism, Preparation, Teamwork

Traditional and Contemporary Literary Pairing Suggestions: Jeff Smith's Bone series, Garfield by Jim Davis, Calvin and Hobbs by Bill Watterson, all of the Dr. Seuss pictures books, television shows and movies, Family Circle by Bill Keane and now his son Jeff Keane, Otto's Orange Day by Frank Cammuso

Some Teaching Recommendations For Early Readers

Suggested Alignment to the Common Core Standards:*
*Standard numbers correspond to the literal common core standards numbers, www.commoncorestandards.com

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.*

Lesson Idea for Early Readers in Grades 5 and Below:

Directions: Ask students to identify each character’s perspective on Linus' blanket. Why should Linus give up his blanket? Why should Linus keep his blanket? And, finally: What evidence or reasoning does each character offer to support his or her position? Feel free to encourage students to use images and/or words to support their claims.

Character's Name

Opinion on Linus' Blanket

Page Number / Drawing of Evidence

 

 

Linus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppermint Patty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sally

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snoopy

 

 

 

 



Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.