Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Review: Reviens Snoopy (Update)

Title: Reviens Snoopy (Snoopy Come Home)

Author: Charles M. Schulz

Illustrations: black and white cartoons by Charles M. Schulz

Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston

Date: 1969


Quote: “L'homme est le meilleur ennemi du chien!”

If the dog is man's best friend, and man is the greatest enemy of the dog...that leaves room for about a hundred pages of cartoons exploring the relationship between child and dog. Which is what this selection from several years of “Peanuts” cartoons does. It's all about Snoopy, the beagle who reflects on his “dog's life” with a man's mind.

Sometimes the complexity of being Snoopy even drives Snoopy to pay five cents for Lucy's somewhat overpriced psychiatric advice, but although Snoopy's thoughts are usually obvious to Charlie Brown and Linus he doesn't actually speak English—or French—and so Lucy gives up on him: “Que faire dans un cas de mutisme obstine?” (What can one do in a case of stubborn mutism?)

Sometimes Snoopy is offered dinners dogs don't normally eat, and, not being a real dog, he eats them...but he doesn't like them. Dumping his bowl, he reflects: “C'est la fin des haricots!” (That's the end of the green beans!)

Other times, he rejects human food, leaving Charlie Brown to observe: “C'est le seul chien que je connaisse qui ait des ennuis de cholesterol!” (He's the only dog I ever knew who worried about cholesterol.)

Often we see Snoopy sitting still, like a dog. Sometimes we see him lying down—flat on his back, like a human. Occasionally he flies, using his ears as rotor blades (in French the kids describe him as “un helichien”). Snoopy is, however, capable of either walking on all fours like a dog, or walking on two feet like a human; he even discovers that he can run and kick a football: “Savais pas qu'un coup de botte pouvait faire tant de bien!” (I never knew a kick could feel so good!)

Before Snoopy became an advertising mascot, when the cartoons were new and fresh, Snoopy was actually funny. Many baby-boomers will remember laughing at these cartoons in English. If you do, you may be in for a nice surprise: I find them even funnier in French.

This book is a collector's item, though not a Fair Trade Book. However, it was popular enough that we can still offer a clean used copy online for the usual price of $5 per book + $5 per package shipped. For current prices, e-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo.com.