The Adventures of Tintin and the Picaros

The Adventures of Tintin and the Picaros by Hergé

Introduced by Emma Balch

In The Guardian’s Book Doctor column, Julia Eccleshare responded to a reader’s family tradition of being given a Boxing Day book. She made the point that books make good presents, but they are important too:

“There is considerable evidence to show that book ownership is a key factor in encouraging children to read. As well as enjoying books, children who own books do better at school overall with evidence showing that book ownership can make outweigh other social factors that affect a child’s educational progress.”

By accident I gave my two boys a Tintin book each on Boxing Day. Living out of suitcases for three months, we’re even more disorganised than usual. Christmas presents this year were distributed according to the day on the day they were discovered tucked in a rolled up in a t-shirt or tucked inside a pair of running socks.

The imps took it in their stride as shown in this photo of Bo reading The Adventures of Tintin and the Picaros. A shiny new Tintin book of his own was a Boxing Day treat (sunshine, a huge pool, a football were just outside, but he couldn’t resist curling up in an armchair and reading his new book).

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With parallels to the post on Christmas Eve, The Adventures of Tintin and the Picaros is the final in a series of books about a Belgian detective. As with Agatha Christie’s final Poirot novel, the last adventures of Tintin appeared (in serialised form first) in September 1975-January 1976. The collected volume was published by Casterman in 1976. It is set [in a fictional country]  in South America and includes dialogue in Spanish. Tintin and the Picaros was an instant commercial success, despite bad reviews at the time of publication. 

So, this year’s unplanned Boxing Day book-giving may well turn into a family tradition. Anyone want to join us?

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Like Tintin, this book travelled to South America. I bought this copy of The Adventures of Tintin and the Picaros from Bartrums in Hay, which has a large selection of Tintin books.


Julia Eccleshare is the new children’s director of Hay Festival.



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