Tintin : Book 1

The Adventures Of Tintin, Reporter For Le Petit Vingtiéme, In The Land Of The Soviets is a comic book by Hergé. It is the very first book of The Adventures of Tintin, The book version was released in 1930 after the original serialized version ended. It tells the story of a young Belgian reporter named Tintin, and his pet fox-terrier, called Snowy, who travel to Moscow, and get into endless trouble there.

Tintin, a reporter for Le Petit Vingtieme, and his dog Snowy are sent on assignment to the Soviet Union. Departing from Brussels, his train is blown up en route to Moscow by an agent of the Soviet secret police, the OGPU. Tintin survives and is blamed by the authorities in Berlin for the “accident”. He is put in jail and even taken to a torture chamber, but escapes (here and in later imprisonments, which are common) by deceit and disguise. He then steals a car and goes through several adventures before eventually reaching Moscow.

In observing a Soviet election, Tintin finds that the Communists coerce people to vote for their list by pointing guns at them, and that apparently productive factories are just hollow shells intended to fool British communists by burning hay to produce smoke and hitting large sheets of corrugated iron to imitate the sound of machinery. In wandering the streets of Moscow, he discovers that Soviet authorities hand out bread to starving children only if they declare themselves Communists; if they fail to do so, the children are beaten and refused food. Due to the relegation of the bulk of Russia’s wheat crop to export, so as to maintain the illusion that Russia is wealthy and can therefore afford to send huge quantities away, Moscow is experiencing severe famine. Thus, the Communist leadership plans to pillage productive farms. Tintin manages to save several kulaks by warning them of the approaching troops, but is again captured when he attracts the attention of a military officer.

Escaping across the snowy wastes, Tintin stumbles upon the secret cache of riches that Stalin, Lenin, and Trotsky have stolen from the Soviet people (including an ample supply of wheat, vodka, and caviar). Armed with this knowledge, he flees Russia via airplane, landing in Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, where he has a final encounter with OGPU agents who attempt to dispose of him before he can reveal what he has seen in the U.S.S.R. Finally returning to Belgium, he is greeted with great pomp by the rapturous public, arriving to a tremendous reception in the Grand Place in Brussels.

Next in the series : Tintin in the Congo.

Smurfs-Book 1-The Black Smurfs

The Black Smurfs (original French title Les Schtroumpfs Noirs) is the first album of the original French-language Smurfs comic series created by Belgian artist Peyo, first published in 1963.

Apart from the titular one (which became the basis for the cartoon show episode “The Purple Smurfs”), it contains two other stories: The Flying Smurf (Le Schtroumpf Volant) and The Smurfnapper (Le Voleur de Schtroumpfs).

As most of the Smurfs gather to work on the bridge crossing the river in the forest, Papa Smurf spots one of them dozing off and sends him into the forest to cut some logs. As he works on chopping down his first tree, that Smurf gets stung by a fly known as the Bzz Fly that turns his skin jet black, drives him insane and reduces his vocabulary to the single word “gnap!”

Papa Smurf becomes concerned when that Smurf fails to return and sends another Smurf, Brainy, to go find him. No sooner does Brainy find him, though, that he quickly returns to Papa Smurf, telling him that that Smurf has turned black. Papa Smurf becomes fearful, realizing that that Smurf has been infected by the Bzz fly. Brainy spots the transformed Smurf hopping his way to the village. They chase after him and capture him, binding him in rope. After Papa Smurf tells some of his little Smurfs to take the captured black Smurf to his house, he tells the others that the last known case of this disease was when he was 108 years old, but now he can’t remember what the cure was.

However, the captured black Smurf doesn’t stay bound for long. After breaking his bonds, he spots a normal Smurf outside his house and bites his tail, turning that Smurf black as well. As he watches the two black Smurfs hop into the forest, Papa Smurf sees that he needs to find the antidote. He tells his little Smurfs not to disturb him as he spends the night working on a possible cure for the black Smurfs.

By morning, Papa Smurf send some Smurfs to capture one, though in the process another Smurf gets bitten while trying to capture one, getting caught in his own lasso. This results in some Smurfs capturing the new changed one. Papa Smurf tries his cures on the captive though it fails as it only causes him to faint. It was a mistake, however, to release him, as Papa Smurf sends a Smurf to carry him back to his house, but the Black Smurf wakes up and  escapes by biting the Smurf’s tail who in turns infects a bystander.

Book Shelf – Secret Seven

The Secret Seven

Enid Mary Blyton (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968) was an English children’s writer whose books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies. Blyton’s books are still enormously popular, and have been translated into 90 languages. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives and is best remembered today for her Noddy, Famous Five and Secret Seven series.

In the first book in the series, the thrill of the Christmas holidays had vanished and Peter and his sister Janet decide to restart The Secret Seven. This essentially being a group of seven members who each wore a badge with S.S. and had to remember a quite often quirky password.

The five other children in the S.S. are Jack, Colin, George, Pam and Barbara. There is also a dog called Scamper, who belongs to Peter and Janet. In this book, the first of 15 in the series, the children arrange an S.S. meeting in the shed in Peter and Janet’s back garden. The shed is next to the greenhouse boiler, giving it a warm feel. It contains five boxes and two flowerpots, with sacks as rugs and a shelf where biscuits and blackcurrant tea, a mix of blackcurrant jam, sugar and boiling water sit.

During the S.S meeting, The Secret Seven agree that its members should actively search for a mystery or a good deed. The Seven then decide to build snowmen in a field. After doing this, The Seven come across a big empty house with an angry, deaf caretaker. It is after this encounter Jack realises he has lost his S.S. badge and may have left it in the field. Jack can only look for it at night as he was punished for accidentally kicking Miss Elly, his annoying sister’s nanny.

When Jack eventually sets off down the lane to the field and the empty house, he quickly finds his S.S. badge, but is soon given the shock of his life. A car pulls up near the gate and two mysterious men get out even though the lane leads to nothing and it is late at night. This was strange enough, but Jack then heard the sound of squealing and thudding in a mysterious van like carriage on the back of the car. In understandable horror, Jack runs back home and leaves a letter for Peter and Janet calling for an urgent S.S. meeting.

The Seven are all astonished by Jack’s adventure and decide to look further into the lively events of the previous night. Peter makes the orders, and it is agreed that himself, Colin and Jack would go down to the house to ask the caretaker if he had heard anything in the night, whilst Pam and George have to enquire about the owner of the big empty house. As for Janet and Barbara, they are given the task of following the tracks from the car and mysterious carriage.

The Seven are successful with all their tasks. Janet and Barbara find out that the tracks went exactly where Jack had been, whilst George and Pam find out that Mr J. Hollikoff lived in the big empty house. The three boys make the most exciting findings when they discover that the old caretaker had even heard the same squealing and thudding noise in the night.

Due to this revelation, the Seven come to the conclusion that the two men in the car and mysterious carriage went to the house and hid a prisoner. To see if their suspicions were true, they decide to dress up as snowmen on the field. Peter decides that only the four boys can go, with two staying with the snowmen the children had built in the field, and the other two boys going up to the house to find the prisoner. In their white overcoats, white skull caps and white face paint, Peter, Jack, Colin and George go to the field in the middle of the night.

The real excitement starts when Peter and Jack, the two that go off to the empty house, hear the same squealing and thudding noise, which the follow down to the cellar. Before they have a chance to look the two men come back and in their anger lock the boys in the cellar.



BOOK SHELF – Redwall – by Brian Jacques – Book 1

James Brian Jacques, was an English writer known for his Redwall series of novels and Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. He also completed two collections of short stories entitled The Ribbajack & Other Curious Yarns and Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales.

His book Redwall was written for his “special friends”, the children of the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, whom he first met while working as a milkman. He began to spend time with the children, reading books to them. However, he became dissatisfied with the state of children’s literature, with too much adolescent angst and not enough magic, and eventually began to write stories for them. He is known for the very descriptive style of his novels, which emphasize sound, smell, taste, gravity, balance, temperature, touch, and kinesthetics, not just visual sensations. His work gained acclaim when Alan Durband, his former English teacher (who also taught Paul McCartney and George Harrison), showed it to his (Durband’s) own publisher without telling Jacques. Durband told his publishers: “This is the finest children’s tale I’ve ever read, and you’d be foolish not to publish it”. Soon after, Jacques was summoned to London to meet with the publishers, who gave him a contract to write the next five books in the series.

Redwall was an 800-page handwritten manuscript. It is now common for children’s books to have 350 pages, and the Harry Potter books far exceed that, but in those days 200 was regarded as the maximum that would hold a child’s attention. It set the tone for the whole series, centered on the triumph of good over evil, with peaceful mice, badgers, voles, hares, moles and squirrels defeating rats, weasels, ferrets, snakes and stoats. He did not shy away from the reality of battle, and many of the “good” creatures die. Redwall alludes to the surrounding human civilization, for example with a scene featuring a horse-drawn cart. But the subsequent books ignore humans completely, portraying an Iron Age society from the misty past building castles, bridges and ships to the scale of forest creatures, writing their own literature and drawing their own maps. Jacques was highly involved in the audio books of his work, even enlisting his sons and others to voice Redwall inhabitants. Jacques said that the characters in his stories are based on people he has encountered. He based Gonff, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Mousethieves”, on himself when he was a young boy hanging around the docks of Liverpool. Mariel is based on his granddaughter. Constance the Badgermum is based on his maternal grandmother. Other characters are a combination of many of the people he has met in his travels.

Redwall – Book 1

Redwall is a fantasy novel by Brian Jacques. Originally published in 1986, it is the first book of the Redwall series. The book was illustrated by Gary Chalk, with the British cover illustration by Pete Lyon and the American cover by Troy Howell. It is also one of the three Redwall novels to be made into a TV series.

A young mouse named Matthias is a novice monk at Redwall Abbey, where he was adopted as a young orphan, though he dreams of a life of adventure, inspired by the legends of Martin the Warrior, the founder of Redwall. One summer, Redwall Abbey is surrounded by the army of Cluny the Scourge, an infamously evil one-eyed rat. Matthias is guided by visions of Martin the Warrior, while the abbey inhabitants prepare the defense of their home against Cluny’s impending attack. Matthias seeks Martin’s famous sword, supposedly hidden somewhere within the abbey, helped particularly by Methuselah, an ancient and grizzled mouse who serves as Redwall’s historian. Cluny, meanwhile, attempts to gain entrance to the abbey and murders a defector from his horde: Sela the fox. Sela’s son, Chickenhound, seeks refuge at Redwall but ends up accidentally killing Methuselah after being caught stealing. Driven from the abbey, Chickenhound is maimed in the wilderness by the venomous adder Asmodeus Poisonteeth, a local terror in Mossflower Wood, the forest that surrounds the abbey.

The Redwall inhabitants have been using boiling water, oil, barrels of hornets, and fire to repel Cluny’s horde, but the abbey finally falls when Cluny threatens the family of the gatekeeper, who allows Cluny’s forces access to the abbey. Matthias, his allies now including the Mossflower shrews and the whole Sparra tribe, along with the newly captive Redwall population, battle against Cluny’s minions. Cluny strikes his poison-barb tail at the father abbot, Mortimer, but Matthias quickly avenges the abbot’s injury by dropping the abbey’s giant bell on top of Cluny, crushing him to death and cracking the bell in the process. Abbot Mortimer proclaims Matthias the Warrior of Redwall and dies from his wound. The battle ends in victory for the defenders of Redwall.

Book Shelf – FIVE ON A TREASURE ISLAND

FIVE ON A TREASURE ISLAND

When siblings Julian, Dick and Anne cannot go for their usual summer holiday to Polseath, they are invited to spend the summer with their Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin at their home Kirrin Cottage, in the coastal village of Kirrin. They also meet their cousin Georgina, a surly, difficult girl, who tries hard to live like a boy and only answers to the name George. Despite an uncomfortable start, the cousins become firm friends and George introduces them to her beloved dog Timothy (Timmy), who secretly lives with a fisher boy in the village as George’s parents will not allow her to keep Timmy.

On their way to Kirrin Island, George shows her cousins a shipwreck, explaining it was her great-great-great grandfather’s ship. He had been transporting gold when the ship was wrecked in a storm, but despite divers investigating the wreck, the gold was never found. After visiting the wreck, the five arrive on the Island and are exploring the ruined castle when a huge storm blows up, making it too dangerous for them to return to the mainland. While they take shelter on the island, the sea throws up the old shipwreck, grounding it on the rocks surrounding the island. Excited by these developments, they decide to come back at dawn the next day to investigate the wreck before it is discovered.

The following day, the five visit the wreck and discover the captain’s cabin, where they find some objects belonging to George’s great-great-great grandfather, including an old box which they take back to Kirrin Cottage. The box proves difficult to open, so they throw it from the highest window of the house. The box breaks open, but the noise disturbs Uncle Quentin who confiscates the box. Not willing to give up their quest, Julian sneaks into Uncle Quentin’s study and takes the box, which contains an old map of Kirrin Castle. The children realise it is a treasure map showing the location of the lost gold. After making a tracing of the map and returning the box, they decide to find the gold themselves.

To the children’s shock, the box containing the map is sold to an antique collector. The same man also makes an offer to buy Kirrin Island. The children realise he has unearthed the secret map and wants the gold for himself, and so begins a race for the five to get to the gold first. Thinking the children want to spend time at the island before it is sold, Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny allow them to go camping there.

Arriving on the island, the five start searching the castle ruins to locate the old dungeons where the gold is hidden. Chasing a rabbit, Timmy falls down an old well, from where the children find the dungeon entrance. Exploring underground, they find the gold in a locked vault. Trouble soon arrives, as bad men come to the island hoping to steal the gold. They capture George and Julian, locking them in the dungeons. Unable to find Anne and Dick, they leave the island, taking the oars from the children’s boat so they cannot escape. Anne and Dick use the well shaft to rescue Julian and George from the dungeon, and the children hatch a plan to trap the men when they come back to the island with a boat to steal the gold.

Although the plan goes wrong, they manage to leave the men stranded on Kirrin Island. They return to the mainland to tell Uncle Quentin, Aunt Fanny and the police what has happened. The gold is recovered and it is decided that it legally belongs to George’s family, making them rich and enabling them to afford everything they have ever wanted. George’s only wish is to be allowed to keep Timmy, and her parents agree. George also agrees to go to boarding school with Anne, because she and her cousins have become very good friends.

Asterix and the Gaul – Book 1

Asterix and the Gaul – Book 1

Asterix or The Adventures of Asterix is a French bande dessinée series about Gaulish warriors, who have adventures and fight the Roman Empire during the era of Julius Caesar. The series first appeared in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959. It was written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo until the death of Goscinny in 1977. Uderzo then took over the writing until 2009, when he sold the rights to publishing company Hachette. In 2013, a new team consisting of Jean-Yves Ferri (script) and Didier Conrad (artwork) took over.

Asterix the Gaul is the first volume of the Asterix comic strip series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). In Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century, a 1999 poll conducted by the French retailer Fnac and the Paris newspaper Le Monde, Asterix the Gaul was listed as the 23rd greatest book of the 20th century.

All of the Gaul area is under Roman control, except for one small village in Armorica (present-day Brittany), whose inhabitants are made invincible by a magic potion created periodically by the Druid Getafix. To discover the secret of the Gauls’ strength, Centurion Crismus Bonus, commander of a Roman garrison at the fortified camp of Compendium, sends a spy disguised as a Gaul into the village. The Roman’s identity is revealed when he loses his false moustache, shortly after he discovers the existence of the magic potion; whereupon he reports his discovery to the Centurion.

Crismus Bonus, hoping to overthrow Julius Caesar, orders Getafix captured and interrogated for the recipe; but to no avail. Protagonist Asterix learns of Getafix’s capture from a cart-seller; infiltrates the Roman camp in the latter’s cart; and hears Crismus Bonus revealing his intended rebellion to Marcus Ginandtonicus, his second-in-command. Following Asterix’s suggestion, Getafix pretends to agree to the Centurion’s demand of the potion when Asterix pretends to give in to torture, and demands an unseasonal ingredient: strawberries. While Crismus Bonus’ soldiers try to find strawberries, Asterix and Getafix relax in relative luxury; and when the strawberries arrive, consume them all, and console Crismus Bonus that the potion may be made without them.

After all the ingredients are found, a potion is prepared that causes the hair and beard of the drinker to grow at an accelerated pace. The Romans are tricked into drinking this potion and before long, all of them have long hair and beards. When Crismus Bonus pleads Getafix to make an antidote, the druid makes a cauldron of vegetable soup (knowing that the hair-growth potion shall soon cease to take effect), and also prepares a small quantity of the real magic potion for Asterix. As Getafix and Asterix escape, they are stopped by a huge army of Roman reinforcements commanded by Julius Caesar. Upon meeting Asterix and Getafix, Caesar hears of Crismus Bonus’ intentions against himself; deports Crismus Bonus and his garrison to Outer Mongolia; and frees Asterix and Getafix for giving him the information, while reminding them that they are still enemies. The two Gauls then return to their village, where their neighbors celebrate their recovery.

Next book in the series: Asterix and the Golden Sickle