For awhile there, it did seem as though Tintin was everywhere that you looked. I suppose this was probably related to the fact that there was recently a big, fancy motion picture made about everyone's favorite intrepid reporter turned boy hero. By Steven Spielberg. But here is the thing about Tintin: blockbuster movie or no, the original Tintin stories have been around for nearly seventy years, and this longevity is both well deserved and seemingly immune to current fads both at the bookstore and in the movie theatre.
I'm always a bit suprised when I run across folks who haven't read Tintin, either on their own or with their children. But I suppose that it isn't at all unusual for books written seven decades ago to go overlooked by those who generally enjoy more contemporary reads. Still, I for one think that Tintin is as well read now as ever, especially since the original stories are being republished in smaller format (read: easier to carry with you), multi-book anthology volumes.
For those that are unfamiliar, the Tintin books are a series of well-drawn comic books about a young Belgian reporter named Tintin and his canine companion, Snowy. Written by Herge, beginning in the 1940's, the Tintin books have been praised for their brightly colored drawings that contain both intracate detail and clean lines, as well as for being able to tell stories that cross genre lines in order to allow our hero to save the day in the most dramatic way possible. The Tintin books encompass everything from history and humor to politics and space travel.
Now, I will be the first to admit that the reading of Tintin is not uncomplicated by the age of the stories. A friend of ours often jokes that he learned everything he knows about the world's vices by reading Tintin as a kid. There are references to alcohol, there are guns and thugs, and, it is pretty hard to ignore the clear racism that permeates the attitudes of the era represented. That being said, while each of these things might otherwise cause me to veto a book that Mariam wants to read, here they are presented in ways that make it easy to have a conversation about topics that might otherwise get heavy handed treatment. And, it all seems so dated and ridiculous anyway that it is also easy to ignore it if you so choose.
I'm very confident that there is Tintin to be had at a library near you, so if you haven't bonded with our boy detective since your own childhood, or haven't yet introduced him to your young readers, I suggest you get on that right away. An added bonus: it takes a really long time for a kiddo to read one of the books to themselves, because each individual page is so packed with detailed pictures and tiny text. If you've got both an eager reader and a few chores that you need to get done on your own, you're in business.