Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Translated by Emma Rose; Illustrated by Sara Fanelli

Obviously, Pinocchio is one of the classics that most children eventually learn. If you are a parent, have you realized that you are one of the people responsible for teaching it to others? I tend to take this sort of thing for granted - it seems like everyone just knows the tales of classic such as Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland. Once it dawned on me that I am the teacher, I also decided it would be best to catch them before the Walt Disney version is too firmly entrenched in their brains.   

I won't recount all the twists and turns of the book, as I think most adults are familiar with the story of Pinocchio and don't require a detailed run through. The basic story is of a (slightly magical) wooden puppet who gets into heaps of trouble. He learns a number of lessons, thereby earning his way to becoming a real boy. Lying, cheating, trickery, theft - you name it, Pinocchio gives it a try. The upshot is there are lots of good lessons in there ripe for the teaching!

We chose to read this as a bedtime story that spanned several nights.  The book weighs in with 191 pages, but the art takes up a fair amount of room and goes a long way towards holding the attention of smaller kids. By page ten, I knew I had never been exposed to the real Pinocchio before. I am one of those people whose only recollection is the Jiminy Cricket version. I am quite positive that the twinkle-eyed Gepetto of my memory does not punch, scratch and bite.  This story has some character and color!    

I wish Sara Fanelli would take this success as a jumping off point and go ahead and illustrate a whole batch of classic children's books.  Her art is just mesmerizing - beautiful, vibrant colors and funky illustrations bring a whole fresh feel to this book. Without Sara, I would never have moved past Walt's version to read Carlo Collodi's original tale!

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press. 

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