This review originally appeared on the now-defunct site FamilyWonder.com, which showcased children's entertainment for parents and caregivers.
Title: BE MY VALENTINE, CHARLIE BROWN
Year: Paramount, 1975
Running Time: 25 minutes
While Charlie Brown waits eagerly to receive valentines, Snoopy puts on a puppet show and Linus buys a box of candy for his beloved teacher. Seeing Linus leave the store, Sally becomes convinced that the chocolates are meant for her, and works with her brother to make an appropriate valentine in return.
When the big day finally arrives, all of them must deal with crushed expectations. The little red-haired girl ignores Charlie Brown along with everyone else, and Linus' teacher drives home with her boyfriend before he can give her his gift. But Charlie Brown's friends bring him a belated card, restoring his optimism about how many valentines he might get next year.
Best For Ages:
2-5 - They may be too young to understand the romantic plots, but little kids adore Snoopy.
6-8 - The age group most likely to identify with Charlie Brown's frustrations.
9-12 - It's a bit hokey, but everyone loves the Peanuts.
Educational Value: Sally recites Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee?" while Snoopy acts out the poem for young viewers to understand.
Entertainment Value: Similar in structure to other Peanuts holiday classics, BE MY VALENTINE, CHARLIE BROWN finds the gang facing potential heartbreak as well as a messy performance by Snoopy.
Emotional Intensity: Charlie Brown gets no cards at school on Valentine's Day.
BE MY VALENTINE, CHARLIE BROWN follows the same formula as the classic IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN, though in this case Charlie Brown and Sally share Linus' inflated hopes for the holiday. Even very young children can understand Charlie Brown's disappointment at not receiving a single valentine, and most adults can relate to Linus' hopeless crush on someone who doesn't even notice him with his big box of candy. Cynical asides about the commercialism of the holiday don't detract from the common desire to feel loved on Valentine's Day.
This simple, traditional cartoon features a witty "pawpet show" by Snoopy in which Lucy gets covered in mud. Peanuts traditions like Lucy's psychiatric advice and football coaching are notably lacking. Yet famed Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi's piano score includes snippets from Bach and Beethoven to enhance the lively mood.
Five and eight year olds laughed aloud at Snoopy's puppetry and the valentine stuck to his nose by Woodstock. Kids charmed by doggie romance also appreciate Disney's LADY AND THE TRAMP. RUGRATS: I THINK I LIKE YOU has a similar storyline about a boy who doesn't have a valentine.
Children's Television Reviews