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We’ve shared in the past a few reviews with Charlie Brown and his friends. I thought it only fitting to have my review of This is America, Charlie Brown! go live on the 4th of July as one of the episodes in this series has a strong connection to this American holiday.
About This is America, Charlie Brown!
This is America, Charlie Brown originally aired as an eight-part mini-series on CBS in 1988. It takes Charles Schulz’ lovable characters and has them experiencing key moments of our nation’s history. The suggested retail price is $26.99.
The Eight Episodes are:
* The Mayflower Voyagers – The Peanuts become pilgrims sailing to the New World aboard the Mayflower and endure the first hard winter on Plymouth Plantation.
* The Birth of the Constitution – Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang is present when the country’s founding fathers discuss putting together the constitution.
* The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk – Linus and Charlie Brown witness the Wright brothers’ first flight.
* The NASA Space Station – Linus dreams that he and the rest of the Peanuts gang travel into space.
* The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad – Charlie Brown discusses how the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads link to create the transcontinental railroad.
* The Great Inventors – Each member of the Peanuts gang reports on various American inventions. Linus discusses Alexander Graham Bell while Peppermint Patty and Marcie talk about Thomas Edison, and Charlie Brown writes a report on the invention of the automobile.
* The Smithsonian and the Presidency – Viewers experience meeting U.S. presidents as seen through the eyes of the Peanuts gang. Charlie Brown visits with Abraham Lincoln. The gang also meets Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
* The Music and Heroes of America – Snoopy wants to participate in Schroeder’s report on music in America. Everyone in the gang plays a different musical instrument while we hear such classics as “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “Yankee Doodle.” This special plays homage to such celebrated composers as John Phillip Sousa, Irving Berlin, George Cohan, Scott Joplin and others. Also featured is Lucy’s report on the heroes of America, which include Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr. Jonas Salk and others.
Our Thoughts on This is America, Charlie Brown!
For those of us who love Charlie Brown, this series is another ‘hit’ which merges familiar characters with a bit of American History. My eldest son came into the room as I was watching The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk and started commenting about the time travel approach being used. That was about the only criticism he offered, though.
Overall, I find resources like this one to be a fun way to reinforce learning on key moments in history and sometimes is how a child might catch the learning bug. Next time we pop in an episode, I plan to give my preschooler a coloring page to enjoy and give his hands something to do while watching.
Check out a Few Segments of This is America, Charlie Brown!
Are you or someone in your house a fan of Charlie Brown? If so, what are some of your favorite Charlie Brown shows?
Do you use productions like these to help get kids excited about American History or reinforce what they are learning?