It's that time of year again, and our family has taken some time to formalize Thanksgiving plans. My son has expressed interest in watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, specifically the floats seen at the tail-end of the event. Because we will be traveling early on Thursday my husband offered to record the event, which made me smile because when I was my son’s age, taping TV shows was not yet an option. Technology truly has come a long way, allowing children creature comforts such as being able to watch shows anytime - possibilities that I am sure most children my son’s age take for granted. I mention this as Loud Crow Interactive has adapted the classic Charlie Brown holiday specials into apps, making it possible to enjoy these TV shows - now interactive digital books - any time we desire instead of the once a year the way I remember.
Having had the chance to review both A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown previously, and experiencing them from an adult point of view, I am actually a little uncomfortable with how terribly the other neighborhood kids treat Charlie Brown, leaving me feeling melancholy. Likewise, my son asked to watch the Christmas special once only to be left feeling sad and has not had much interest in these shows since. I have mixed feelings about that, as I fondly remember these shows from my own childhood. In comparison, I find A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and the related Loud Crow to be the most child-friendly as here Peppermint Patty invites herself along with a few other friends over to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving dinner, making Chuck not such a lonely and bullied character as he is in the other holiday specials.
Sure Peppermint Patty has some unkind words for Charlie Brown as the last-minute Thanksgiving spread is without a turkey or other traditional fixings, but Marcie talks sense into her and apologies are made, and it ends on a happy note with the gang being invited to Chuck's Grandmothers' for a proper Thanksgiving Dinner - making this story an easier one to share with my sensitive son. Also nice is the speech Linus makes to remind children of the true spirit of this holiday. There are still a few moments within A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving that are self-deprecating, as Charlie Brown announces that holidays make him feel depressed. Also included is the iconic image of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick - now as an animated interactive moment for children to participate in. The presence of outrageous “mean girl” behavior seen in It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is absent - for which I am thankful. The fact that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a kinder, gentler story matters to me as children have the opportunity to view these tales daily or even more often, giving them the ability to internalize the behavior they may see. Because bullying has become such a hotbed topic in recent years, I am ambivalent about recommending titles in which Lucy's and other characters' behavior towards Charlie Brown could be described as harassment - behavior that hopefully would not be tolerated by my son or his other friends.
I have enjoyed A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and I appreciate how one can listen to the actor who plays Linus, now an adult, narrate this app - also allowing one to read this book to oneself as well as featuring Auto Play that will aid the youngest children in enjoying this storybook. Pop-up book aspects are incorporated for a nice effect. Do look for ways to interact with the characters and objects seen on the pages - a nice touch, which in some ways modernizes the experience while simultaneously adding to the vintage charm of a period pop-up book, adding some interactive moments to the process of preparing the table and foods for the holiday meal with the help from Snoopy, which was always my favorite moment of this holiday Special. The original voices are included, which I really appreciate, bringing this app to life in a way that parents will really appreciate and making this app worth downloading.