Imagine finding a book your mother wrote about you when you were a child. Imagine she wrote it 54 years ago and is no longer living. What would you do? This is the dilemma that gave rise to the illustrated book, “Danny Peanuts.”
“Danny Peanuts” is a new children’s book with an old story. The book came-to-be after the author’s son (Skip Boyland aka “Peanuts”) found it and published it as a tribute to his mother, Gail. Gail Boyland lived in Newburgh, New York, with her husband and four children. She was an excellent artist, incredible mother with a quirky sense of humor and iconic sense of style. She was best-known for entertaining the neighborhood children and taking care of injured birds, that is until her 2017 book debut. Around 1963, she wrote “Danny Peanuts” for her young son, Skip, who was very small for his age and eager to grow up.
“Danny Peanuts” was written and illustrated on a legal-size notepad by Gail Boyland. The pictures were drawn by hand with black ink. After more than 50 years in storage, each of the illustrations in this book had to be cleaned up. Color was added based on a smaller color version Gail Boyland had created. Care was used to maintain the authors original style.
As noted on the book’s official website, “Danny Peanuts” is “an excellent ice breaker with children to encourage them to discuss their feelings and right actions about being teased for their differences.” The verses deal with a child’s body size insecurities, for example: “Grandma came from far away to visit Danny for a day. Danny, there’s no secret to growing a much bigger you. Though you are just a peanut’ yet, you are not as big as you will get!”
Early reviews of “Danny Peanuts” harp on the positive message the book shares. According to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, “Gail Boyland’s ‘Danny Peanuts’ captures the essence of a child’s struggles with being small in a full of judgment, transforming insecurity into positivity!” Most importantly, children reviewing the book have found their voice in it. “I recommend this book because it’s good for people that are small and feel bad about it. It may inspire the[m] to not care if [they’re] small or big,” wrote a young “Danny Peanuts” reader.
Can you just imagine how proud Danny’s mom would be today if she knew that he loved the book so much that he decided to publish it and share it with the world in hopes that it would help other children? She’d be so proud all over again.
Read more about “Danny Peanuts” on the official website.