Once upon a time there was…”A king!” my little readers will say at once. No, children, you’re wrong. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood.
This is the original story of Pinnochio, vastly different from the Disney animated cartoon. It really is a moral fable, with all sorts of lessons. It’s still really entertaining and well-written, though. The story begins with a piece of wood, “not a fancy piece of wood, just a regular woodpile log, the kind you might put in your stove or fireplace to stoke a fire and heat your room”. Master Cherry brings it home and starts to hear it talking to him. He gives it away to the poor puppet-maker Geppetto, who makes a puppet out of it. And thus Pinocchio is born. But what a rascal he is! First of all he gets his father put in jail, and then he eats all of his father’s food, of which there isn’t much. Then, Geppetto sells his coat in order to get Pinocchio a spelling book. But as we know, not all goes well on Pinocchio’s way to school. He encounters the Cat and the Fox, one of the greasiest pair of swindlers in literature. The rest of this rather short book tells of his subsequent misfortunes and adventures. We meet the Fairy with the Sky Blue Hair, as well as several talking animals. I haven’t seen the cartoon in ages, but a lot of the same events happen in the original book. But there are also a lot of things in the book that aren’t in the animation, and vice versa. For example, there is a cricket in Pinocchio, but he plays a relatively minor role, although he is important to some extent.
Pinocchio is a really awful child. He gets others into all sorts of trouble, and of course, himself. He’s really gullible too. When the Cat and the Fox tell him that he can triple his wealth by burying his coins in the ground, he believes them. He never suspects them of anything until after it’s too late, not even when he cuts off a bandit’s hand and it turns out to be a cat paw. Then he falls in with the wrong crowd at school, who get him into more trouble. He never will learn, which makes for frustrating reading. I wanted to knock some sense into him. Every time after he makes a mistake, Pinocchio promises that he’ll never do it again, but he does. Eventually, however, he learns, and becomes a good little boy.
I love the writing in Pinocchio; though it was written in the 19th century, it’s not overwritten at all. The writing is quite distinctive, but really easy to get through and really compelling. I read Pinocchio very, very quickly, in probably an hour or two all told. It’s a great work of fantasy, a great fairy tale, and a great moral tale. I would highly recommend Pinocchio. It’s an amazing story with many amazing elements. I can see how the morality aspect of it might get on some people’s nerves, but I loved it.
- if you like fantasy
- if you like Italian fiction
- if you like fairy tales
- if you like the Disney cartoon
|Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!|