Friday, August 22, 2008

The Adventures of Tintin

My kids are on a Tintin kick these days. They discovered them in the comic book section of our library over the summer. I'm not one of those parents who worries about their kids reading comic books. First of all, I read comics when I was a kid, and I moved on to reading lots of big books with no pictures at all. Also, I still read comic books, so I'm having fun reading the Tintin books to my kids.
The Tintin books, by Herge (real name Georges Remi) were mostly written in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Herge was Belgian, but the books take place everywhere from England to Tibet to the moon. Tintin is a young reporter who travels the world (and beyond) to investigate smugglers and spies and dangerous criminals. He spends a lot of time being shot at, hit on the head, held prisoner, threatened with death, and escaping from police officers after he's been set up by the bad guys. Perhaps because there is a lot of humor in the books, my kids never seem to be too worried about his fate. And they shouldn't be - Tintin always gets away, and he always gets his story.
Snowy is Tintin's adorable little white dog and trusty sidekick. Sometimes the bad guys try to shoot Snowy, but he always gets away, and usually shows up just in time to chew the ropes used to tie Tintin's hands together in captivity. Professor Calculus is a brilliant inventor who is very hard of hearing, so he often misunderstands what everyone is saying. Captain Haddock is a sailor with a strong temper and an even stronger taste for whiskey.
Apparently the Tintin books have been criticized for negative portrayals of some ethnic groups, but the books we've read so far have not been egregious - in fact Tintin makes fun of Europeans who stereotype the Chinese in The Blue Lotus. So if you don't mind exposing your children to violence, criminality, and jokes about alcohol dependency, your family might enjoy the Tintin books too.

1 comment:

Nan said...

Hello! Just popping over from GNM Parenting where I noticed that wherever I commented, there you already were! My boys absolutely love Tintin, and we have had some great discussions about communism, travel in the 30's, history, opium addiction... you can just imagine the list! Tintin makes them ask many questions, and I love that. Asterix and Obelix are great too, but then, my two older boys will read ANYTHING they can get their hands on!