There are the Classics, those things we read in school, or that line the lists of books one has to read in order to be well-read. Then there are classics, those books that everyone needs to read to have had a good life.
Welcome back to my bookshelf. Today we’re talking about one of the greatest books ever, Snoopy and the Red Baron.
My family is a Peanuts family, excepting myself. My brother has all the Charlie Brown holiday films, which we always watch on their respective holidays. Woodstock and Snoopy are practically members of the family.
With the exception of the Red Baron story, I’ve never been especially interested in Snoopy. I enjoy the films fine, but it’s never my first choice to watch them. But this story, with Snoopy as a WWI flying ace fighting the German archetype of the Red Baron is actually the cutest, most entertaining thing ever.
This takes the aggrandized story of an actual German pilot known as the Red Baron, a man who has been fictionalized and commercialized so many times (Red Baron pizza, anyone?) that most people probably don’t even know he was real.
I’ll confess, I’m a sucker for stories from the world wars, but especially the planes. The idea of fighter pilots has always been exciting to me, and in WWI it was a completely new idea. Snoopy and his vibrant imagination – most vibrant in this story, I feel – turns his dog-house into one of those early planes, and carries him into a tale of adventure.
I think that it’s important for children to see this sort of imagination. These days kids aren’t using their imaginations quite as much. All their toys and games make noise and flash lights and do the thinking for them. My niece would rather watch people play Minecraft in videos than play with her own relatives sometimes, and that’s sort of disturbing to me.
What’s wrong with making the barking noises for your toy dog? What’s wrong with playing with a cardboard box?
Snoopy’s tale as a fighter pilot has inspired two video games and a viewfinder series (because why not?) and is perhaps one of the most beloved tales of all time. Why?
Because why can’t a doghouse be a WWI fighter plane?