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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown incorporates the subtle and ageless humor of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, and is appropriate for all ages. Though it focuses on an important Christian holiday there is no real depiction of faith, just more secular traditions like trying on Easter bonnets and dyeing Easter eggs. Though the titular beagle brightens almost everyone's Easter morning, poor old Charlie Brown is still left out.
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What's the story?
With IT'S THE EASTER BEAGLE, CHARLIE BROWN, creator Charles Schulz takes aim at holiday consumerism much as he did in the better known A Charlie Brown Christmas. This time the Peanuts gang is getting ready for Easter; Peppermint Patty (voiced by Linda Ercoli) is determined to demonstrate the art of Easter egg dyeing to her friend Marcie (Jimmy Ahrens), who seems just as destined to thwart all attempts. Linus (Stephen Shea) has turned his faith from the Great Pumpkin to the Easter Beagle, who he promises will make Easter special for all of them. And Lucy (Melanie Kohn) believes this holiday should be about "getting," a misunderstanding reinforced by scenes set in department stores already decked for the Christmas holidays.
Is it any good?
While it's difficult for any Peanuts film to achieve the magic of the Christmas special, with its melding of secular and spiritual themes, this one comes close. It does focus on the "fun" parts of the holiday like participating in Easter egg hunts and buying a special Easter outfit. But it also takes on holiday consumerism and disappointment. Charlie Brown laments that holidays are a time that you look forward to being happy, "but then something spoils it all." Viewers of all ages may relate to that sentiment now and then.
As with every Peanuts film, the message in It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is swathed in terrific humor. The scenes of Marcie's ill-fated attempts to prepare eggs for dyeing will have everyone laughing. Snoopy and Woodstock's wordless interactions speak volumes, especially when Woodstock moves into his deluxe '70s-era bachelor birdhouse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the children's visit to the department store for Easter shopping in It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. Why were they surprised to see Christmas decorations on sale?
Do you think that religious holidays are sometimes taken over by commercial interests? Does that affect how you celebrate?
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