You can't have anything Peanuts related without including Charlie Brown. Obviously Hallmark agrees because he was one of the four characters they included in their Peanuts Wireless Band released over several months in 2011.
Each character in this set plays a different instruments and takes the lead on two different Christmas carols. Charlie Brown was given a saxophone to play, and I must say he does an excellent job of it. His two songs are "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" and "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Each song only last for about 30 seconds, which means you really get two lines of "Midnight" and an arrangement of several days but not full verses for the second song. I'm not quite sure how to describe that one, but it works and works well. In fact, that song is probably my favorite from all the characters. The recording definitely sounds like a sax, although it still has a tinge of a toy to it. Then again, these are toys, so I guess that's not super surprising.
Charlie Brown is decked out in red and green from his red Santa hat and coat to his green scarf and pants. The base of this piece is the wood floor he's standing on. There is a button in front of him that you can use to start the music playing. When you press it, you hear one of the two songs (they rotate) and Charlie bobs back and forth to the music. He's makes a little bit of extra noise as he does that, but it's not too bad.
The true fun of these pieces is how they interact. Notice I said that Charlie Brown takes the lead on two songs. Each member of the band does the same thing, and the other pieces chime in one the leader gets going. That means that each piece really plays 8 songs. You can set them up around the room and hear these songs in great harmony as the different instruments work together.
To play the music, the piece requires 3 AAA batteries. Your first set is included, and I'm still using them.
When I bought these pieces, Charlie Brown was the only one I had trouble with. He didn't always want to play when the other characters started a song. I exchanged him, and the new one I got has worked just fine.
The pieces are much too large to hang on your tree. Charlie himself is several inches tall, and the base he's on is another two, but it's rather wide. I would guess that's to hold all the electronics needed for the piece to play music and interact with the others. Either way, this is a display piece, and the base is nice and flat so you should have no trouble setting it anywhere.
I really enjoyed playing with the Peanuts Wireless Band last Christmas and look forward to enjoying them for many more Christmases to come. And it wouldn't have been the same with good ole Charlie Brown in the mix somewhere.
This review is part of the 2012 Funny Pages Write-Off.
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