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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection is a compilation of 11 of the best TV specials starring Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang. All were written by Charles M. Schulz, and they are true to his vision. This set doesn't include any of the holiday fare (for example, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving); the stories stay close to home and the day-to-day lives of the Peanuts characters. Some mild comic jeopardy runs through many of the episodes: tumbles, whacks, close calls, chases. None should be frightening for kids with even the simplest understanding of real vs. cartoon action. Messages about self-worth, friendship, empathy, good sportsmanship, dealing with hurt feelings or loss, and more are subtly and not-so-subtly integrated into the comic stories. "What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?" introduces facts about World War I and World War II and includes references to battles and wartime casualties. "Why, Charlie Brown, Why?" focuses on the discovery of a classmate's possibly fatal leukemia and follows the girl's progression, treatment, and resulting good news. The earliest of these episodes originally aired on TV in 1975, the latest in 1990, with most broadcast in the early 1980s. At 265 minutes, it's not for one sitting.
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What's the story?
In PEANUTS EMMY HONORED COLLECTION, Warner Bros. has released 11 award-nominated Charlie-Brown-and-company TV specials, all of them written by the creator Charles M. Schulz. Among the topics are the pain of falling in love, the value of home, risk-taking, standing up for oneself, and being careful what you wish for. Also, in several episodes, members of the Peanuts gang engage in a variety of competitions. Two of the episodes are departures from the insular world of the characters. In "What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?" the gang is in France and happens upon the site of the Allies landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Complete with actual recorded comments of Dwight D. Eisenhower and a reading of the classic poem "In Flanders Field," this episode touches upon the realities of World War I and World War II. In "Why, Charlie Brown, Why?" a classmate is diagnosed with leukemia, and the characters follow her treatment and recovery.
Is it any good?
Because each of these "specials" was written and blessed by Charles Schulz and produced by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, there's a wonderful constancy to both their vision and execution. All either received Emmy nominations or won an Emmy award ("Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown" and "You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown"). Of particular note are some of the more musically focused entries; the integration of iconic melodies is a fine introduction to classical music. Of course there are standouts, but each viewer will decide that for him or herself. This Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection is great fun for families to watch together; for parents, introducing kids to programs that were their own favorites is "special" indeed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the Peanuts gang continues to be popular. What is it about the behavior of the characters that feels realistic and appeals to multigenerational audiences?
Many of these stories are about contests and competitions. Aside from enjoying the win, what do the characters take away from their experiences? What part does good sportsmanship play?
Try to create and draw your own member of the Peanuts gang. What would he or she be like? Why would he or she be special?
Which of these stories is your favorite? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: September 15, 2015
- Directors: Phil Roman, Bill Melendez
- Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Empathy
- Run time: 265 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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