The Peanuts gang explains the origins of the American Revolution—kinda.
This is such an egregious appropriation of a global institution that it is hard to know where to begin. How about the cover? “I Declare, Charlie Brown! Charles M. Schulz.” That’s it. As Schulz died in 2000, readers can safely assume this is not his story and these are not his drawings, and the record is corrected on the title page. Briefly, the Peanuts gang builds a treehouse, which Lucy quickly occupies and demands a tax to enter. Forget that this is not a tax but an admission fee—this allows Reeves and Barnes to introduce taxation without representation and the impetus for the American Revolution (which gets stone-skipping detail in the backmatter). The text is painfully wooden: “They settled some of the very first colonies in America. By the mid-1770s, thirteen colonies were thriving.” Unlike George III (and, for that matter, Schulz’s Lucy), Reeves and Barnes’ Lucy sees the light and joins the gang for a tea party. Brannon’s digital artwork has a wobbly, mouse-drawn look, giving the characters a sickly look. To add insult to injury, the text doesn’t always match the illustrations. “ ‘Lucy is coming! Lucy is coming!’ Pigpen sounded the alarm.” As it happens, Pigpen is nowhere to be found.
Good grief! (Picture book. 4-8)