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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Adventures of Pinocchio (Innocenti)
by Carlo Collodi
Age Range: 9-11
Originally written for a Rome children’s magazine, the Giornale dei bambini, Pinocchio only appeared in book format in 1883. It was first translated into English in 1892 and there have been numerous translations and adaptations into English ever since. As well as having been translated into many other languages throughout the world Pinocchio also became internationally recognised when Walt Disney made a film of it in 1940.
This is the universally well-known story of the wooden puppet carved from a piece of pine wood by Geppetto, the poor woodcarver, who lives in a small Italian village. Geppetto loves Pinocchio dearly and although the wayward puppet does love his father he finds it almost impossible to be good. From the moment Pinocchio is created he has a mind of his own and more than anything he longs to be a real boy.
When Pinocchio meets the Blue Fairy she promises to grant his wish if he can demonstrate that he is brave, loyal and honest. But Pinocchio just loves having fun and is easily tempted into making the wrong decisions and as he stumbles from one misadventure to another will he ever learn the difference between right and wrong?
Roberto Innocenti’s breath-takingly beautiful illustrations set in the Nineteenth century portray a world where reality and fantasy are combined. The intricate detail and exceptional clarity show the atmosphere of Florence, the bustle of Italian street life and the beauty and isolation of the countryside. Both the pathos and the humour are captured in equal measure as Pinocchio lurches from one crisis to another. East picture ignites the imagination bringing the legendary puppet alive. Translated by E. Harden in 1944 the New York Times called Pinocchio “a masterpiece of illustration” and there is certainly no question that it is; with the power to enthral children and adults everywhere.