Thursday, April 30, 2009

Little Wooden Head

Italy's most famous fairy tale- the adventures of a mischievous puppet who becomes a real boy.

Pinocchio plays pranks upon the kindly woodcarver Geppetto is duped by the Fox and the Cat, kills the pedantic Talking Cricket, and narrowly escapes death, with the help of the blue-haired Fairy. A wooden puppet without strings, Pinocchio is a tragicomic figure, a poor, illiterate, naughty peasant boy who has few choices in life but usually chooses to shirk his responsibilities and get into trouble. This sly and imaginative novel, alternately catastrophic and ridiculous, takes Pinocchio from one predicament to the next, and finally to an optimistic, if uncertain, ending.

Title: The Adventures of Pinocchio
Author: Carlo Collodi
Illustrator: Roberto Innocenti
Start & Finished: 2/17/09
Published: 1881-1883
Publisher: Consolidated Press
Pages: 234 (Hardcover)
Genre: Classic- Children’s Literature

Florentine author Carlo Lorenzini or as he his more commonly known Carlo Collodi, wrote one of the initial stories for the first Italian newspaper for children between the years 1881-1883 that became world famous and it was called Storia di un burattino (The Story of a Marionette) or Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio).Collodi, respected though he was for his contribution to the then new genre known as children’s literature, however died unaware of the immense popularity of his little puppet in 1890. Exactly 50 years later, a man called Walt Disney made Pinocchio his second animated film and because of this, the “little wooden head‘s” story has continued to endure the years unweathered.

Pinocchio (which literally means pine nut in Italian) has been translated into almost every language over the years by many people and has been illustrated by almost as many people as well. The copy of the story I read was illustrated by the Italian painter Roberto Innocenti and it was he in all honesty that made me continue to read the story. While Pinocchio’s rascally rude cheekiness might have been cute to some people, his constant tantrums not only bored but annoyed me as well.

True, it is a allegorical story that reflects the values of the era by putting the main character into situations where if he does something good (like getting an education or working for a living) he gets something good in return but if he does something bad (like listening to false friends, skipping school, etc.) or even careless then he’ll also be paid back in kind. A fairly common theme in children’s literature at the time, it was nevertheless not that great of a story and in all honesty, I much preferred Disney’s loose adaptation.

Speaking of which, my favorite character in the film was of course Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards) who is known in the story as only the Talking Cricket, Pinocchio actually kills him after a lecture on doing nothing but playing (“you‘ll become a perfect donkey“). I do believe that Disney’s is the only adaptation of Collodi’s story I have seen although there are of course many, many more including a musical starring Mickey Rooney (1957), a stop-motion animated series by Rankin and Bass, a Jonathan Taylor Thomas one in 1996, and Disney even made a live-action one for TV called Geppetto in 2000 starring Drew Carey. These are just to name a few and I’m not even including the ones where Pinocchio is a minor character (like in the Shrek films).

The story of Pinocchio has inspired people the whole world over (there are even derivatives of the novel and “sequels”) and just because I didn’t care for it doesn’t mean you or your children won’t love it. If anything else, it was remarkable enough for me just to see where the Disney movie ideas came from… not to mention the now common conception of a liar’s growing nose.

Related Posts: Disney’s Pinocchio

Links: Pinocchio Website (in Italian), Author Wikipedia, Book Wikipedia, Pinocchio Wikipedia, Disney Film Wikipedia, Entire Book Online (Project Gutenberg), Pinocchio Park

Picture Explanations
Sick in Bed: Illustrated by Maria L. Kirk
Kills the Talking Cricket: Illustrated by Roberto Innocenti
At the Puppet Show: Illustrated by Alice Carsey
Embraced by Puppets: Illustrated by Maria L. Kirk


  1. Sorry you didn't enjoy the story. At least you like the Disney version :)

  2. Interesting! I did not realize there was a "book" version - I wonder why I never thought about it before! He kills the Cricket in the story thought?! Noooooo... I would say Disney's Jiminy was by far my favorite! I would never have imagined Pinocchio throwing a temper tantum!

  3. I think the Disney version is the only version I've seen too. I've seen it many times, too. I probably wouldn't enjoy the book because I would be comparing it to the Disney movie the whole time.

  4. Rhinoa: Love the Disney version! Jiminy is the cutest cricket in the whole world!

    The Epic Rat: Almost every single Disney movie (especially the early ones) is based on a book. Oh Pinocchio isn't the cute little guy he is in the movie, he's quite an unlikeable brat in the book. The cricket does show up later as a ghost but he's no Jiminy.

    Bermudaonion: I love books made into movies and vice versa because I like to compare or get the slight little nods in the films. I'm usually able to think of them as completely seperate but this one was just too awful.

  5. Yes, it was pretty bad, especially in comparison. I don't think I'd have liked it even without the comparison, though. Too bad. But at least we do have the Disney version!

  6. I agree: the movie is definitely better!

  7. Rebecca Reid: Most adaptations of Pinocchio soften him up a bit and make him more likeable. I've always wondered why the author didn't?

    Nymeth: Lol, yep!

  8. Ladytink, Apparently, it was written as a serial: he couldn't go back and edit because he was writing parts of it at different times.

    I think that makes characters less realistic or likeable, because the author can't see the final product until, well, the last serial publication!



Thank you so much for leaving me comments and coming by!

Don't forget to visit my other blog:
Up Close and Personal with LadyTink I'd love to hear your opinion or just "meet" you!

I do leave answers to your comments here.

Search This Blog