A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Secret of the Unicorn is actually part one of a two-part adventure rendered 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 ends in a cliffhanger, with the actual undersea search occurring in the follow-up, Red Rackham's Treasure. Those two books, along with episodes from the unrelated Tintin adventure The Crab With the Golden Claws, are the basis of the Steven Spielberg-directed 2011 animated film The Adventures of Tintin.
What's the story?
In THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN, the intrepid young reporter Tintin, his ill-tempered friend Captain Haddock, and Tintin's faithful and funny terrier, Snowy, get swept up in a complicated mystery that leads to a search for lost pirate treasure. Along the way they encounter and sometimes battle with various odd and sinister people who are also on the trail of the treasure.
Is it any good?
The realistic artwork is magnificently detailed and the characters -- some funny, some ordinary, some menacing -- are vividly drawn, as well. The story is sophisticated and engaging. There is lots of broad comedy but also plenty of serious action. Reading The Secret of The Unicorn without its sequel, Red Rackham's Treasure, would be very frustrating, however. Warning: Tintin books can become addictive!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how 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?
The Secret of the Unicorn is one of 23 Tintin books. Have you read any of the others? If so, how does this one compare?
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?
Captain Haddock finds clues to treasure lost by his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, who commanded The Unicorn, a sailing ship in King Charles II's fleet, which was overtaken by pirates in 1676. Have you heard stories about any of your relatives who led adventurous lives years ago?
For kids who love adventure
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.