Red Rackham's Treasure: The Adventures of Tintin

Book review by
Blair Jackson, Common Sense Media
Red Rackham's Treasure: The Adventures of Tintin Book Poster Image
Dramatic finish to "Secret of the Unicorn" treasure hunt.

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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.


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!"

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. 

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Kid, 10 years old May 20, 2013

Not good-excellent!

This book has one ignoramus,but this doesn't matter.Tintin is intelligent and brave and does anything-even crack his skull to save his friends.Despite bein... Continue reading
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 mor... Continue reading

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. 

Talk to your kids 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?

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