How young Sparky and Spike became the famous cartoonist Charles Schulz and his beloved creation Snoopy.
Sparky’s dog, Spike, white with black spots, is the “wildest and smartest dog ever.” He drinks from the bathroom faucet, fetches potatoes on command, and eats seemingly anything (razor blades!) without getting sick. He can tell time, letting Sparky’s father know on Saturday evening when it’s time to head to the drugstore for the Sunday funny pages. Sparky loves to draw cartoons. When his teacher predicts he will be an artist someday, Sparky is determined “not…to be just any artist—he is going to be a cartoonist.” When Sparky sends a letter about Spike to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and it’s published in the Sunday comics along with his drawing of Spike, Sparky is inspired. And, indeed, as explained in the author’s note (which includes family photos of Sparky and Spike), Charles grew up to create “Peanuts.” In the illustrator’s note, Andreasen reveals that when he was a young boy he sent a drawing to Charles Schulz and got a personal reply (included in the backmatter) that inspired him, like Sparky, to become an illustrator. Andreasen does not try to emulate Schulz’s iconic style, instead rendering delicately hashed, fairly realistic cartoons, placing his mostly white cast on funny-pages–bright backdrops.
A fetching story, perfect for budding artists and lovers of the funnies. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)