Peanuts is a cultural institution. Even people who don’t read it (I have been told that such people exist) know many of the recurring plot points. Snoopy has a rich fantasy life. Linus can’t let go of his blanket. Charlie Brown will never be able to kick that football. And the characters’ Little League team is not only incapable of winning, but always loses by a humiliating number of runs, which is why the gang is somewhat surprised when their team is personally picked by the President of the United States to represent the US and go play against the top Little League team of Japan in Tokyo.
The gang boards a plane and flies to Japan. They go sightseeing, get to wear kimonos, eat at teppan, ramen, and sushi restaurants and learn about Bonsai trees. Snoopy and Woodstock also have their own side adventure where they try to learn how to sumo wrestle. But before long comes the day of the big game and the gang is worried. After all, they’ve never won an actual game…
As to the art style….well it’s Peanuts. Despite Schultz being dead, it still looks like he drew it. The characters, from Peppermint Patty, to Lucy, to Snoopy, to Charlie Brown, are all instantly recognizable, since they don’t appear to have changed since the 1960s.
The book is well researched. The author and artist are clearly huge fans of Peanuts and it shows. While it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi of Schultz’s original work, it’s still well done and quite charming. In addition, the architecture of Japan, as well as many of the Japanese cultural touchstones in which the kids and Snoopy partake, are accurate with notes at the back of the book. Also, the unfamiliar concepts are presented in a simple yet informative manner that can be easily understood by the age group this book is intended for.
This book is honestly charming. It’s cute, informative, and tells a nice story. For kids unfamiliar with Peanuts, this is a good introduction. And for teens and adults who remember the strip fondly, it will induce a haze of nostalgia while simultaneously being an all new story. Plus, it’s a pretty quick read, so I can’t think of an argument not to do so. In short, read this book, you won’t regret it.