Jul 28, 2007

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Once upon a time, there was ...
'A king!' my little readers will say right away.
No, children, you are wrong. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood.
The Adventures of Pinocchio is the story of a wooden marionette whose greatest ambition is to become a real boy. This wish will only be granted, however, if Pinocchio acts like a good boy. Instead, he is ruthless, irresponsible, gullible and lazy, but deep down, he has a good heart. Throughout the book, he faces the consequences of his bad behaviour, and ends up learning from his mistakes.

Like most people, I was familiar with this story because of the Disney animated version. This was the reason why I wanted to read the book - I like knowing the original story of characters that have become a part of popular culture. I watched the Disney movie many, many years ago, though, so I didn’t remember the story all that clearly. But after reading the book, I was left with the impression that Disney took many liberties when adapting this tale. For example, the cricket that acts as Pinocchio’s conscience plays a much smaller role in the book. Also, Pinocchio’s best known feature, having his nose grow when he lies, is only mentioned in two situations in the book, the first of which is more than halfway through the story.

This book was enjoyable, but I found it too moralistic for my taste. But this is only to be expected from a children’s novel first published in 1883, of course. The intention of the story is to show what happens to boys who don’t obey their parents, don’t go to school and don’t work hard to achieve their goals. These lessons are taught through a mostly entertaining story, but they're too over the top for my taste. Although I didn’t love the book myself, I can see why it is a children’s classic.

Other Opinions:
Rebecca Reads
Puss Beboots
The Movieholic and Bibliophile's Blog


  1. I tried to read this when I was still in primary school. You know, classic and Italian! but I don't think I ever got through the first chapter. I was too impressionable, I was too sad for Geppetto (is that the same name in english?) when Pinocchio sells the book he bought for him. He had to sell his jacket to buy Pinocchio books! Too much for my sensitive soul :P

  2. Hi Valentina :)

    Yeah, that part was sad indeed. But I guess the fact that the tone of the book was light and humorously distracted me from the sadness of some of the things that happen in it.

  3. I only know the Disney version, but they are well known for taking liberties with other stories so it doesn't surprise me they did it with this one too!

  4. aah... i'd always been curious about what the book was like. thanks for the review and for the warning. i think if one goes into a book like that knowing its going to be moralistic, then one is prepared and there is a better chance one can get something out of it.

    incidentally, what do you think of the film? i rewatched it a few years ago when i did a critical essay on disney and i found it very good. its still a powerful film.

  5. Rhinoa: Yeah, considering the liberties they take with fairy tales, for example, it's not surprising at all.

    Jean Pierre: I do think that being prepared would help. As for the movie, the last time I watched it must have been over 10 years ago. I do remember liking it, but my memory of it is very hazy. But reading the book made me want to watch it again one of these days.

  6. I read and reviewed Pinocchio in January. I was disappointed in it and thought it rough and not very lovable. I prefered the Disney version, but then I'm a sucker for sentimentality.

  7. Petunia: I really have to watch the movie again - it sounds like one of those rare cases in which it clearly surpasses the book!

  8. Oh I didn't like this one at all! The Disney movie however is wonderful :)


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