Two illustrated volumes of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio take the spotlight this fall. Robert Ingpen's edition starts on a note of humor, with inset illustrations showcasing his meticulous ink lines and cross-hatching. He depicts the newly emerging Marionette wearing Geppetto's wig, for instance, or a full-page image of Geppetto fitting the fellow with new feet after the puppet's burn in a fire. A wordless spread of the Assassins making off with Pinocchio, however, exudes an appropriate creepiness. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
If the only image of the wooden boy that children have is the Disney puppet with his shock of black hair lovingly crafted by the gentle old Geppetto, then perhaps it is time to introduce them to the original. Not sanitized by Disney, this Pinocchio is revealed as sometimes arrogant, often naughty, very disobedient, but with an underlying desire to do what is right. There are plenty of adventures and misadventures for the wooden puppet who longs to be a boy. It is a cautionary tale, unabashed in its messages to children, that probably works best as a read aloud. What sets this edition apart from others is the handsome design. From the rich buff pages to the exquisite paintings of 19th century Italy, this is a work of art. Here is a classic that belongs on every bookshelf. 2005, Creative Editions, Ages 5 up.
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
A veteran children's writer retells the story of Pinocchio and presents it as a thirteen scene play. He likens the metamorphosis of Pinocchio as the growth in character of all of us, and HE encourages readers to present it as a play to illustrate this fact. Pinocchio has not lost his timelessness and appeal, and this story is an opportunity for a group of children to explore his complex character in a more extended version.
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Once upon a time, a block of wood became the puppet known as Pinocchio. While one may recognize book's title and its characters, this translation tells a much darker story than what readers may expect. Here, Pinocchio runs away and kills the talking cricket! On his way to school, he meets a dishonorable fox and cat, and they try to murder Pinocchio! Fortunately, the Blue Fairy comes to his aid. She tries to guide him and suggests he be more obedient. In spite of this advice, Pinocchio joins his schoolmate Lampwick in Play Land. There, the puppet turns into a donkey. When he is thrown into the sea, he changes back into a puppet and reunites with his father. Only then does he begin to realize how he can become a real boy by helping his father. Many readers are familiar with the general arc of Pinocchio's story, but this translation bluntly recounts specific, harsh events. Beautiful watercolor and black-and-white illustrations accompanyand perhaps softenthe story. Unfortunately, these illustrations do not follow the story precisely; the discrepancies could be distracting. This fantasy could appeal to middle and high school readers who can tolerate the puppet's obstinacy and not be distracted by the illustrations' placement. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
School Library Journal
Gr 2-7-The classic moral tale of the wayward puppet's quest to become a real boy is illustrated with Ingpen's richly textured pencil-and-watercolor artwork. A combination of full-page illustration and spreads, as well as numerous smaller pictures, depicts Pinocchio's adventures. Ingpen's color choices-primarily subdued neutral tones accented with bright hues-underscore the sense of play in a rather grim story. The bright-eyed marionette is portrayed as more mischievous than malicious-more naive than nasty. Even as a puppet, his posture and movements are that of an active, curious child. Likewise, the narration is lively and energetic and seasoned with subtle humor. The dark sides of the tale are not omitted, but the focus is on the adventure and on Pinocchio's redemption. Some of the modernization is unnecessary and awkward; for example, the Cat receives a telegram, rather than message, informing him that his child is ill. Overall, this is a handsome traditional edition of the story that will appeal to children. The Adventures of Pinocchio illustrated by Robert Innocenti (Creative Editions, 2005) is a more literary version with a stronger sense of the European setting, dramatic tension, and moral undertones. Sara Fanelli's version (Candlewick, 2003) offers a more contemporary collage-style interpretation.-Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
What most readers know of Pinocchio is a wooden puppet whose nose grows from telling lies. This episodelonger than a picture book but shorter than the original taleis one small chapter in the exploits and adventures of Pinocchio, the boy wannabe. An illustrated adaptation, it follows the original M.A. Murray translation closely, yet succeeds without the long-windedness of the 1892 classic, and with all the rich language, spirited characters, and lively escapades intact. Inspired by the commedia dell'arte, the Italian traveling street theater of Collodi's time, Young (Night Visitors, 1995, etc.) has created scenes that authentically capture the playlike quality of the story. Reminiscent of his colorful cut-paper collage in Seven Blind Mice (1993), the array of characters and images cleverly reflect a stage production, complete with double-page spreads that act as scenery backdrops. It's an energetic rendition that invites the audience to meet again the mischievous puppet with all his foibles, setting the stage for an Oz-like ending that reaffirms the power of good.
Read an Excerpt
How it came to pass that Master Cherry the carpenter found a piece of wood that laughed and cried like a child
There was once upon a time…
“A king!” my little readers will instantly exclaim.
No, children, you are wrong. There was once upon a time a piece of wood.
This wood was not valuable: it was only a common log like those that are burnt in winter in the stoves and fireplaces to make a cheerful blaze and warm the rooms.
I cannot say how it came about, but the fact is that one fine day this piece of wood was lying in the shop of an old carpenter of the name of Master Antonio. He was, however, called by everybody Master Cherry, on account of the end of his nose, which was always as red and polished as a ripe cherry.
No sooner had Master Cherry set eyes on the piece of wood than his face beamed with delight; and, rubbing his hands together with satisfaction, he said softly to himself:
“This wood has come at the right moment; it will just do to make the leg of a little table.”
Having said this he immediately took a sharp ax with which to remove the bark and the rough surface. Just, however, as he was going to give the first stroke, he remained with his arm suspended in the air, for he heard a very small voice saying imploringly, “Do not strike me so hard!”
Picture to yourselves the astonishment of good old Master Cherry!
He turned his terrified eyes all round the room to try and discover where the little voice could possibly have come from, but he saw nobody! He looked under the bench—nobody; he looked into a cupboardthat was always shut—nobody; he looked into a basket of shavings and sawdust—nobody; he even opened the door of the shop and gave a glance into the street—and still nobody. Who, then, could it be?
“I see how it is,” he said, laughing and scratching his wig. “Evidently that little voice was all my imagination. Let us set to work again.”
And taking up the ax, he struck a tremendous blow on the piece of wood.
“Oh! Oh! You have hurt me!” cried the same little voice dolefully.
This time Master Cherry was petrified. His eyes started out of his head with fright, his mouth remained open, and his tongue hung out almost to the end of his chin, like a mask on a fountain. As soon as he had recovered the use of his speech, he began to say, stuttering and trembling with fear.
“But where on earth can that little voice have come from that said Oh! Oh!? Here there is certainly no living soul. Is it possible that this piece of wood can have learnt to cry and to lament like a child? I cannot believe it. This piece of wood, here it is; a log for fuel like all the others, and thrown on the fire it would about suffice to boil a saucepan of beans…How then? Can anyone be hidden inside it? If anyone is hidden inside, so much, the worse for him. I will settle him at once.”
So saying, he seized the poor piece of wood and commenced beating it without mercy against the walls of the room.
Then he stopped to listen if he could hear any little voice lamenting. He waited two minutes—nothing; five minutes—nothing; ten minutes—still nothing!
“I see how it is,” he then said, forcing himself to laugh and pushing up his wig. “Evidently the little voice that said Oh! Oh! was all my imagination! Let us set to work again.”
Nevertheless, he was very frightened, so he tried to sing to give himself a little courage.
Putting the ax aside, he took his plane, to plane and polish the bit of wood; but while he was running it up and down he heard the same little voice say laughing:
“Have done! You are tickling me all over!”
This time poor Master Cherry fell down as if he had been struck by lightning. When he at last opened his eyes he found himself seated on the floor.
His face was quite changed; even the end of his nose, instead of being crimson, as it was nearly always, had become blue from fright.
Illustrations © 2002 by Gris Grimly