So pal Dorian gave me this book over the weekend:
It’s volume 8 of Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia (1980), covering stars, planets, and plants, too, for some reason. It’s a collection of science facts accompanied by appropriate Peanuts strips and various illustrations with the Peanuts gang doing things of varying scientific value. You can read more about this series at pal Nat’s site in this entry specifically about the set this book is from, and this series, which was the actual source material from which the ‘Cyclopedia series drew.
Nat notes that some of the strips had their dialogue changed to more closely fit the material at hand, though it looks like some of the spot illustrations of the Peanuts gang were either cobbled together from various sources, sometimes over backgrounds obviously done specifically for the book (like a two page spread of various characters standing along a pier stretching out over a polluted lake…it almost looks like the characters were pasted into the image), or maybe even drawn specifically for the books, perhaps by Schulz, or more likely by studio artists. I have no idea, and I hereby invoke the name of pal Nat to shed some light on this if he’d be kind enough to do so, should he happen to drop by the comments.
In this illustration from the book, Linus reveals his secret hippie leanings:
This next image is kind of awesome, not just because of Snoopy tripping shrooms, but because of Woodstock face to face with a terrifying and comparatively photorealistic chipmunk:
Being this was 1980, and woo and magical thinking were running rampant through society (unlike now, where we’re all completely rational and sensible and there isn’t a half-dozen TV shows on the air devoted to people wandering through dark houses and pretending there are ghosts) , a page was included devoted to astrology. This was the amusing illo that ran on that page:
Linus and Sally’s word balloon order is a little wonky, and Charlie Brown’s balloon was cut off in my scan (too close to the spine…it reads “That’s all!? That’s it???”) but it’s a nicely skeptical take on the matter, compared to the actual text piece on the page which describes in a mostly neutral tone what people who follow astrology believe. I say “mostly” because the last line of the piece is
Man, those close-minded scientists, not buying into things that have no scientific basis whatsoever. Isn’t that just like them?
Anyway, it’s a neat and colorful little book, and now I kinda want to track down the rest of the volumes on the eBay. …Great, something else to collect! According to the back of the book, one of the other volumes is entitled “The Body,” and I’m picturing it as being page after page of images like this (except, of course, for Frieda’s cat, who, by all appearances, has no bones).