We thought it was time to introduce Ben to our favorite Christmas television experience, A Charlie Brown Christmas, this year. So Chris brought it home on DVD, and a board book adaptation of it.
Ben relates to anything more easily if he learns about it first in a book, so this pairing seemed like the optimal experience. We read the book a couple of times, then watched the show. Ben sat with the book in his lap, reading the book-specific expository passages aloud, things such as, "Charlie Brown and Linus went to a Christmas tree lot," at the appropriate moment in the video.
Watching this with Ben was a very different viewing experience than I ever had before. I was quite uncomfortable with how mean the kids are to each other. I was concerned about Ben mistaking Lucy for a role model. I was hyper-aware of how much of the dialog is ironic and satirical. These are types of humor that will not register on Ben's radar for a very long time.
On the plus side, the Vince Guaraldi score is first rate and Snoopy is hilarious in every frame.
The part Ben liked the best, not surprisingly, was Linus' recitation of the Christmas story from Luke. He sat motionless, leaning forward. He asked to see it 3 or 4 times. He seemed entranced by the drama of when the shot pulls back to the empty auditorium and Linus stands lit by the spotlight.
He must have recognized a kindred spirit in Linus - a precocious little boy who needs to suck on something, and recites sophisticated stories from memory.
Unfortunately, Linus' entire speech is not included in the book. I think I'll make a transcript so he can learn it and we can have our own little Christmas pageant in the living room.
And I'll be the Christmas Queen.