July 15, 2021


Calendars (mini-wall for 2022): Snoopygrams. Andrews McMeel. $9.99.

Calendars (page-a-day for 2022): Peanuts; Bible Verse-a-Day. Andrews McMeel. $9.99 each.

Calendars (desk for 2022): Walter Geoffrey. Andrews McMeel. $16.99.

     Old dogs can certainly learn new tricks. Anyone who doubts that has only to look at the many and various ways in which Charles Schulz’s bouncy beagle, Snoopy, has evolved in the two decades since Schulz’s death (after previously going through considerable evolution during the five decades of the Peanuts comic strip). Snoopy has become a fixture online and in many roles in which Peanuts fans did not expect to see him, such as his famous (or infamous) role as spokesdog for insurance company MetLife from 1985 to 2016. Being at least as popular a character as Charlie Brown, Snoopy continues to bedeck displays of all sorts, reappearing in Peanuts book collections as well as being the star of offerings such as a 2022 mini-wall calendar featuring various Peanuts characters. Based on Snoopy’s official Instagram account – yes, he has one – and formally called @snoopygrams, this small calendar spans a full 16 months, as is now the norm for wall calendars – with September through December 2021 on a single page and the months of 2022 on their own individual ones. The four-month page is not for the faint of heart or faint of sight, since the calendar measures seven inches square (7” x 14” open), which means each of the four months of 2021 gets a space less than two inches square – but the Snoopy cartoon is worth seeing for all four months, showing the redoubtable beagle standing proudly beneath the words, “Keep your head up!” That is good advice for any month in any year. The rest of the calendar features several Snoopy poses: he marches with an American flag for July, lies flat atop a cupcake (in a pose familiar from strips in which he lies flat on the roof of his doghouse) for February (amid the words “Sprinkled with love”), and is draped over the top of a Christmas tree for December. Other Peanuts characters make appearances, too: Charlie Brown is about to pitch a baseball for April (“Believe in yourself!”); crabby Lucy walks along for March vowing, “I’m on a new campaign to be nice to people”; Linus is in the proverbial pumpkin patch, with Snoopy in the background, waiting for “the Great Pumpkin” in October; and so forth. Snoopy has quite clearly made the transition to the Internet age seamlessly, and anyone looking for a wall calendar that will fit a small space while providing a large amount of enjoyment (including some nostalgia) will find this one right on target.

     Nor is Snoopy confined to mini-wall-calendar status. He also appears on a mini-page-a-day calendar – the type featuring one illustration per weekday plus one per weekend. These little calendars measure only 3.5” x 2.5”, which is scarcely enough room for a full Peanuts strip or even a full panel with words. But there is plenty of space for close-up views of Snoopy and other Peanuts characters, all offered wordlessly but in characteristic poses. One page shows Pig-Pen walking as his usual dust cloud surrounds him; another has Linus pointing at the sky and apparently asking or demanding something, probably relating to his philosophical musings; one has Snoopy sitting in a distinctly human pose, gazing downward at the date as if trying to figure out the number; and there are walking Charlie Brown pages, a befuddled-looking Peppermint Patty, an enthusiastically running Marcie, a backpack-bearing Lucy, plus Snoopy at his typewriter, in his World War I Flying Ace costume, holding a water dish for Woodstock, even one of him looking uncharacteristically downcast. The nostalgia quotient is high here, since you have to know the characters already in order to get full enjoyment from their poses and the subtle alterations in their appearances on different pages. This mini-calendar – which has four magnets on the back, so it can be neatly affixed to a refrigerator or other metal surface – is further evidence that Snoopy and Peanuts retain the power to amuse that they had during the strip’s half-century run.

     And it is worth pointing out that you can find a mini-page-a-day calendar with words, ones that have stood the test of time even longer than Peanuts. That would be Bible Verse-a-Day, which – in the absence of pictures – has plenty of room on each page for a short quotation from the Old or New Testament. There is much to think about here, on every page. “For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. – Psalm 33:4.” “The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. – Lamentations 3:25.” “You will have mercy on us again; you will conquer our sins…. – Micah 7:19.” “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace…. – Isaiah 55:12.” “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. – Matthew 6:34.” The quotations not only come from many books of the Bible but also are taken from many different English translations, so there is variety baked into the verbiage of this calendar along with the thoughtfulness and spiritual uplift. The calendar’s size may be small, but its value as a counterbalance to the everyday hectic-ness of modern life can be quite large – and the absence of illustrations or of a mascot such as Snoopy matters not at all.

     And Snoopy, for all his continuing popularity, is scarcely the only dog star on the Internet and social media today. One of his many canine compatriots is Walter Geoffrey, a French bulldog whose claim to fame is living in “Meltdown City.” As his website proclaims, “If you're looking for wg, you can find him on the corner of emotionally unstable and overdramatic.” That makes him an ideal purveyor of merchandise (toys, T-shirts, hoodies and more) and a suitable star of his very own desk calendar, a 16-month planner (September 2021-December 2022) with a cartoon drawing of wg’s head at the bottom right corner of every right-hand page. Like the mini-page-a-day Peanuts calendar, this desktop offering is for existing fans, since it provides no information on wg beyond the brief comments that appear next to his head at the bottoms of the pages. And those remarks are intended to reinforce what his fans already know: “5-Star Dog Living in a 2-Star World,” “Walter for President,” “The Sexy Leg,” “The Bilingual King,” “Mr. Tiny T-Rex Arms,” and so forth. In truth, the design of this desk calendar makes it less than completely suitable for the usual purposes of desk calendars: it does not open flat (although it has a built-in bookmark to keep a user’s place in the year), and at roughly 5” x 8” it is on the small side for desktop use. On the other hand, wg fans looking for a planner suitable for a small space – to go along with a small-space wall calendar and/or small-space page-a-day calendar – will enjoy using this one. They will also certainly agree with the bottom-of-some-pages declaration that wg is “The Most Interesting Dog in the World.” Snoopy fans, however, will understandably beg to differ.

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