Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (The Adventures of Tintin)
Little, Brown Young Readers (2007)
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age10) for Reader Views (1/08)
“Tintin in the Land of the Soviets” by Hergé is the comic adventure of Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy in Soviet Russia. Tintin, reporter for “Le Petit Vingtième,” is sent to Soviet Russia to write about the situation there, but he is continually thwarted by Soviet agents. Will Tintin return alive with the truth about Soviet Russia?
In his efforts to penetrate Russia and observe the goings on, Tintin is bombed, shot at, chased, captured, stuck in sewage, encrusted in ice, and his vehicles are sabotaged. The Soviet secret police, who don’t want Tintin to let the rest of the world knows what is going on in Russia, capture him and send him to the torture chamber. Snowy saves Tintin from the red hot poker, and Tintin saves Snowy from a wicked-looking sword. Hilariously, in the end, it is the torturer who is tortured. Tintin and Snowy repeatedly rely on their wit, resourcefulness and luck to outwit the evil agents.
This story first appeared in 1929 as a comic strip in a Belgian newspaper to alert people to the injustices occurring in Soviet Russia. In the story, Tintin discovers that the Soviet’s “efficient” factories are really fakes. They are burning straw to make smoke and banging on pieces of metal to make it sound like there is operating machinery. Tintin also witnesses hungry orphans standing in a bread line. They have to state support for the communists or else they get kicked and get no bread. I am sure glad that I didn’t live in Soviet Russia during this time period.
If you have ever read another Tintin book, you will be very surprised when you first get your hands on this book. The drawings are in black and white and are less detailed. The drawings are bigger and there are only six frames per page rather than the usual twelve. The book is longer, however, which more than makes up for less content per page. The story and humor are just as good as ever. This was Hergé’s first book, so it is interesting to see how his characters changed.
I would highly recommend “Tintin in the Land of the Soviets” to my friends because it is very funny and adventurous, and you can even learn a little bit about the history of Soviet Russia. This book was so good that I read it three times the day I got it!