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PinocchioPinocchio by Carlo Collodi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Here is an extended version of the Pinocchio we all love and know that is jam-packed with lots of little cautionary tales and side quests. To be honest I like the Disney version a lot better as it has a more linear plot. There are moments when it got a bit confusing especially when strange characters would pop up only to disappear again. The biggest disappointment for me was seeing Jiminy Cricket die moments after his first appearance at the hands of Pinocchio himself! And if you thought that was shocking then imagine my dismay when he would come back sporadically as a ghost to warn our wooden friend of the error of his ways.

Other differences come in the form of characters like the Blue fairy, who at first appears to Pinocchio as the ghost of a beautiful child with blue hair. Collodi likes to take his readers to places where they can taste not only the sublime but also the abstract. There is no shortage of talking animals and objects which makes this a perfect bedtime read for little ones. Make sure you put on your best storytelling voice!

The main thrust of the story is still the same; how to be a GOOD boy and Pinocchio goes through many, many trials before he is granted his wish. At first Pinocchio is a very naughty so-and-so, in fact he really deserves a firm slap in some places! However he gradually learns never to take things at face value, to think and reason for himself and to curb his selfish ways by thinking of how his actions affect others. All very valuable lessons all children must learn if they are to grow up as responsible adults. Even though it was a little too detailed for my liking, Collodi’s story had an old world charm to it that is truly hard to find these days. At essence, ‘Pinocchio’ is a ‘quest’ story and draws many similarities with Dorothy in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’.

This book is like a trip down memory lane for older readers, but probably best suited for youngsters who still believe in fairies and talking crickets.

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