Red Rackham's Treasure (The Adventures of Tintin)

Common Sense Media says

Dramatic finish to "Secret of the Unicorn" treasure hunt.





What parents need to know

Educational value

The vocabulary in this, and all Tintin adventures, is quite advanced and also very British in places -- it was translated from Herge's original French for an English audience, not an American one. There are realistically rendered depictions of life on a freighter, scenes on a tropical island and at the bottom of the ocean via pre-scuba deep-sea diving, with wildlife ranging from monkeys to sharks.

Positive messages

Tintin and his friends are intensely loyal to each other. They use logic and intuition to solve clues about the location of the pirate treasure they seek.

Positive role models

Tintin is unfailingly honest, polite, reasonable, and friendly -- but he will also defend himself and his friends any way he can.


The action is much less violent than in its predecessor, The Secret of the Unicorn; mostly slapstick pratfalls and comical encounters with monkeys and a scary shark. Tintin carries a rifle in a jungle scene, but doesn't fire it.

Not applicable

There is no actual cursing, but the temperamental Captain Haddock constantly shouts strange and funny insults at people who cross him, such as "Circopithecuses!" "Freshwater swabs!" "Ectoplasms!" "Bashi-bazouks!"

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Tintin's troublemaking sidekick, Captain Haddock, loves rum and whiskey and drinks at every opportunity--which are fewer in Red Rackham's Treasure than in The Secret of the Unicorn.  In both books, his alcohol consumption always leads to trouble of some kind, much to Tintin's chagrin, but it's usually played for laughs. Tintin's dog, Snowy, also laps up some whiskey at one point. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Red Rackham's Treasure is the second part of an adventure begun in The Secret of the Unicornrendered in highly realistic comic book/graphic novel style by the Belgian artist/writer Herge in the mid-1940s. This story of a hunt for lost pirate treasure takes Tintin, his dog Snowy, the ill-tempered Captain Haddock, and the comically inept detectives Thompson and Thomson on a long sea journey on a freighter, to a tropical island, and on an adventure under the sea. The story is sufficiently complex that it requires real attention to follow its twists and turns. This book also introduces the odd, hearing-challenged Professor Cuthbert Calculus, who is prominent in many other Tintin adventures.  Along with episodes from the unrelated Tintin book The Crab With the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure are the basis of the Steven Spielberg-directed film The Adventures of Tintin.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's the story?

Picking up from where The Secret of the Unicorn left off, Red Rackham's Treasure finds Tintin and Captain Haddock embarking on a sea voyage in search of lost treasure hidden centuries ago by the captain's seafaring ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. Their alternately harrowing and hilarious adventure takes them to a tropical island, to the ocean floor, and back to England.

Is it any good?


Red Rackham's Treasure serves up a very satisfying conclusion to the mystery begun in The Secret of the Unicorn. The artwork, as in all Tintin books, is beautifully detailed and colorful. All the main characters are likable and memorable, from the cantankerous Captain Haddock to the clumsy detectives Thompson and Thomson to the peculiar Professor Calculus to the loyal and often very funny dog Snowy. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Red Rackham's Treasure completes the story started in The Secret of the Unicorn. Did you find it a satisfying conclusion? 

  • Tintin adventures have been thrilling young readers around the world for more than 60 years. Why do you think this classic series is so popular?

  • Tintin adventures are told in the style of a graphic novel, a kind of book that is quite popular today. What are the advantages of telling an action-adventure story this way?

Book details

Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:January 1, 1944
Number of pages:62
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 17

This review of Red Rackham's Treasure (The Adventures of Tintin) was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old December 20, 2011

Drunkness is a Biggy

drunk smoking and mild violance meant for laughs, so no real problum
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old April 13, 2012

Great adventure comic book out of 23!

This book is an amazing book. It is one out series of 23 of adventure comic books. This book only has only 1 star for drinking because of the funny sea captain. It only has a 1/4 of a star for violence. It is educational because it teaches you of old Europe.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old June 22, 2012

Very, very good

The positive role model is Tintin, because he rarely uses weapons and bad language, apart from "Snakes" and "Crumbs." He uses his brain more than his fists. This comic is better than Batman. Captain Haddock uses words like "Osgroth," "Carpet seller," and "ectoplasm" as negative names, but they are better than the less creative and short ones we hear often enough. He also loves alcohol, and drinks rum and whiskey. In this one, there are barely any guns. There is Tompson and Thompson, who rarely use guns, but they have to do a lot of pumping air for a underwater suit and gripe about it. Professor Calculus is a bit absent-minded, but he predates Jacques Cousteau and the mini-sub.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide