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Summary: When Charles Schulz was just a week old, his Uncle named him "Sparky," after a cartoon character he loved. Not only did the name stick, but Sparky knew from a very early age that he wanted to draw cartoons as a career. This is a biography for kids about the life of Peanuts creator Charles Schultz.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 9 and up
Interest Level: 9 to 13
Age of Child: Read by a 9-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: My daughter picked this as a biography project for school (third grade). She knew about Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang, but she was fascinated by all of the other things that she learned. Every couple pages she would stop to read us a paragraph or tell us about something that piqued her interest.
Adult Reader Reaction: After my daughter finished reading, I read the book. The layout is very "Shulz-ish," with speech bubbles and bright colors (Charlie Brown yellow). I also loved that it didn't idealize either Shulz' craft or his life. Instead it showed how he drew on the tough times as positives for telling a story in just a few panels.
Pros: Transitional readers will enjoy this story-behind-the-story of popular cartoon characters. Parents will love the chance to "spark" an interest in a cartoon series they loved as kids.
Cons: Although each page spread includes an illustration and text, the text covers the entire page. Kids who aren't ready for text-dense pagss may get frustrated.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an interesting book, but is better suited for a school or public library than your home bookshelves.
Educational Themes: In addition to learning about Charles Schulz, readers can learn about art, drawing, careers and professionalism, as well as approaches to life.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.