The Complete Peanuts 1950-1954 Boxed Set Hardcover – Apr 21 2015
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Top Customer Reviews
* These are sadly all black and white, even the Sundays that were printed in color. Luckily, there is a second series of books that contains all the full-color Sundays. Just search for 'Peanuts Every Sunday'
* Each volume contains a brief introduction by some famous fan of the strip. They're vaguely interesting but I've never bothered to read any of them all the way through.
* If you're crazy anal as I am note that there are two slightly different versions. If you want them all to match on your shelf then take VERY careful note of the exact publisher and edition.
* Finally, take careful note of the evolution of the series. The very early strips from the 50s are almost like a totally different strip. If buying for a gift, you might consider one of the later books in the series. Completists will want them all but if the receiver is on the fence then the 50s isn't the place to start.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
With that in mind I decided to go back to where it all began with this beautiful collection of the first five years of Peanuts strips, and I'm quite glad I did. Peanuts tends to fool the reader with its use of children as primary characters; we assume that it is a strip written not just about, but for children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Schultz uses children, yes, but the themes he explored with those characters went far beyond typical childhood troubles. Schultz's everyman, Charlie Brown, speaks to everyone who has ever doubted themselves for a moment, which is to say, he speaks for us all.
Going back to the beginning not only demonstrates why Peanuts quickly took off, it presents a marvelous look into the evolution of the strip. Who knew that some of the characters we know so well today were absent from the early years? We get to see the arrival of Lucy, the queen fussbudget, her brilliant younger brother Linus, and the prodigy and Beethoven fanatic Schroeder, as well as the developing relationships between Charlie Brown and the neighborhood gang. The two books are a treasure trove for all, but will be of particular interest for readers unaware of how Charlie Brown and the rest got their start. The strips are augmented with numerous essays and interviews about Peanuts bookending each volume and serving as a kind of cultural barometer for the wide-ranging influence of Charles Schultz.
The books themselves are well-made and packaged inside a handsome slipcase, making them an attractive addition to your bookcase when you're not poring over them. Both volumes are hardcover with sleeves and should last a lifetime of reading.
As a long time fan of Peanuts I have only started to truly appreciate Sparky's amazing talent. I read Snoopy books religiously as a child but put them aside in my late teens and twenties as I thought them too childish. I have recently come back to read the strips again with a fresh mind and am amazed by Schulz's talent to say so much about us as people in only 4 panels and a few well-place pen strokes (perhaps only matched by Bill Waterson of Calvin & Hobbes fame).
The true joy of these books (and I haven't finished reading them yet, but I digress) is seeing the progression of characters from day one. Snoopy is just a puppy with an upturned nose who doesn't talk. Heck, for quite a while it is not even clear who he belongs to! Slowly characters are introduced into the neighbourhood. It was amazing to see a baby Schroeder introduced and immediately play Bheethoven on his toy piano.
All in all, an amazing purchase. I look forward to the rest of the series.
The strips are interesting to see the early innocence of the characters, which are all dramatically different stylistically than they were in later years. Snoopy in particular is very different looking, and has no lines in these early strips. The progression of the characters over the years is fascinating to me, particularly the development of Charlie Brown and Snoopy into the nexus of the strip.
Although I was born long after "Peanuts" began, I still remember reading the strip as a young child, a habit I kept until Schulz passed away. These are wonderful books and I highly recommend them to anyone of any demeanor anywhere at any time for any reason.
Thank you Charles Schulz. We miss you.