cover image Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz

Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz

Beverly Gherman, Chronicle, $16.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8118-6790-0

Gherman (Ansel Adams: American Photographer) presents an insightful portrait of Peanuts creator Schulz. She uses a sincere though never heavy tone that will draw readers in, as will the facts and anecdotes she has selected about Schulz, who got the nickname Sparky before he was even a week old. From his boyhood as an only child who loved the funny papers (and to draw) to his later years as a successful cartoonist whose life was cut short by cancer, Schulz always found inspiration for his art in his personal life. Shermy, an early Peanuts character, was named for Schulz’s closest childhood friend; Schulz’s mother suggested the name Snoopy for a family dog; and Lucy has the energy and loud opinions of Schulz’s oldest daughter. Oh, and there really was a red-haired girl. The book’s design—the pages and fonts are a literal rainbow of hues (black ink is all but absent)—suits its contents and makes them all the more accessible. Family photographs are plentiful, but the element sure to be most appreciated by fans is the inclusion of numerous Peanuts comic strips. Ages 9–up. (June)