The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Title: The Adventures of Tinitin: The Secret of the UnicornThe Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Author: Hergé (Georges Rémi)
Genre: Adventure comic book
Age category: 8-12 years

With the scheduled December 2011 release of Steven Spielberg’s movie, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I thought I would review the classic 1959 middle-grade comic with the same title by the Belgian artist Georges Rémi (1907-1983), who created under the name Hergé.  The Tintin comics were some of my favorites as a child, and my kids have now started enjoying them too.  If you would like to see the trailer for Spielberg’s upcoming movie, click here.

Summary: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

The Adventures of Tinitin: The Secret of the UnicornThe Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn opens with a news report that incidences of petty thievery are on the rise in London, and that the police are using their “best men to put a stop to this public scandal.”  It turns out that London’s “finest” include Thomson and Thompson, two identical-looking and identically incompetent detectives who sport black suits and bowlers.  On their patrol of the Old Street Market—during which both of their wallets are stolen—they bump into their friend Tintin (a brave, sharp reporter, the protagonist of the story) and his white fox terrier, Snowy.  As Tintin buys a model ship for his friend Captain Haddock—a retired old salt who struggles (sometimes not too hard) with his taste for liquor—two men appear beside him and express interest in the ship he has just bought.  They offer dueling bids, but Tintin refuses to sell it.

Tintin takes the model home, where Snowy accidentally breaks the mast.  Never mind: Tintin easily repairs it.  When Tintin shows the ship to Captain Haddock, the Captain notices that the ship is a scale model of the Unicorn, the ship sailed by his distant relative Sir Francis Haddock.  However, soon after the model is stolen from Tintin’s apartment, which is ransacked in the process.  In the wake of the break-in, Continue reading

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Children’s Book about the Civil War: The Storm Before Atlanta

Children's Books about the Civil War, The Storm Before Atlanta by Karen SchwabachChildren's Books about the Civil War, The Storm Before Atlanta by Karen Schwabach
Title: The Storm Before AtlantaChildren's Books about the Civil War, The Storm Before Atlanta by Karen Schwabach
Author: Karen Schwabach
Genre: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction
Age Category: 9 – 12 years

Children’s Book about the Civil War: The Storm Before Atlanta

The Storm Before AtlantaChildren's Books about the Civil War, The Storm Before Atlanta by Karen Schwabach is a children’s book about the Civil War.  The book opens in 1863, with the Northern and Southern United States locked in conflict. Eleven year old Jeremy DeGroot is determined to die gloriously for his country as a drummer boy in the Union Army, believing that this will have him immortalized as a hero. After a few long train rides and some quick thinking, Jeremy finds himself marching into battle with the 107th New York Volunteer Infantry, and thinks he’s achieved his life’s ambition. However, Jeremy quickly learns that the real life of a soldier bears little resemblance to the songs of glorious battle and valiant death that originally inspired him.

The Storm Before AtlantaChildren's Books about the Civil War, The Storm Before Atlanta by Karen Schwabach also introduces us to Dulcie, a young escaped slave who is determined to find herself as part of a Union army regiment. In doing this, Dulcie hopes to gain her freedom and eventually locate her mother and father, whom she hasn’t seen in years. Alongside these two protagonists we also meet Charlie, a Confederate soldier who wears the uniform of an enemy, but acts like a friend. But Charlie also carries a closely guarded secret, one that will affect Jeremy and Dulcie profoundly. Continue reading

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