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The seventeenth volume of this great series from Fantagraphics is just as delightful as all the rest. Yes, the ink line of Charles Schulz is a little wobbly at times, but his humor is just as sharp as ever. There are a few new diversions here like Peppermint Patty in France, and then flunking and being kept back a grade (with an unusual resolution), but mostly it’s more of the many familiar situations Schulz has been building for decades, from the hapless baseball team to Snoopy and Woodstock to Sally’s cavalier attitude to school, and many more. Schulz gives a fair amount of space to Snoopy’s lonely desert-dwelling brother Spike and his cactus pretend-friends, which I usually find more sad than funny, but there’s plenty here that did get me laughing, at least once every few pages.
Perhaps the most endearing relationship is Charlie Brown in the role of dog feeder and caretaker. And for once Charlie gets to make some jokes on someone else, though Snoopy gets in his own sly comebacks. I’ve said it before, but if you want reading material that will make you smile and laugh it’s hard to beat this series. And I’m continuing to admire the subtle and classy cover designs by Seth.