Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions
Everyone knows the Disney story of Pinocchio, the cute little puppet learns right from wrong with the help of his father and a little cricket. The sweet tale changes as Pinocchio is strayed from the path and encounters a lot of obstacles before ending up inside a whale! Pinocchio is cute and portrayed as almost innocent, we are routing for him throughout the whole movie, even though he has done wrong… However, those who have read the classic Collodi version will know Pinocchio takes on quite a different role.
I read Pinocchio because it was one of the books we are studying for Children’s Literature. I was quite excited to read it after only ever seeing the Disney adaptation. I really enjoyed doing this with quite a few children’s literature books, after only seeing one adaptation of them.
Pinocchio is a rude character who I thought was quite rude throughout the novel. The adventures he goes on and the things he does throughout the novel become infuriating. Within the Disney adaptation, there was a time where Pinocchio starts to understand and learn life morals, yet the classic novel seems so different. He does not learn from his mistakes and he continues to ruin his father’s life wasting his money, almost to the point we start to hope that his father just disowns him. He irritates us as an audience and every wrong decision he made, I started to lose interest! The fox and the cat are two very sly characters, in the film you can see how they manipulate a young boy, whereas in the book Pinocchio just seems plain stupid.
The book also takes a sinister tone, where Pinocchio just seems to give up. He is trapped hanging from a tree, which is described pretty gruesomely. The beautiful blue fairy shown in the Disney movie becomes a spooky child and Jimney Cricket does look out for Pinocchio but seems to give up in the end!! It was not what I expected and was not an exciting read. I found it very dull at times and it’s quite easy to see why the Disney film is quite scary for little children, as the original was quite eerie to adapt from. Although the bildungsroman format does carry out throughout the novel, Pinocchio does learn and grow up and does end up becoming a real boy (even if I don’t think he deserved it). I think if I were to re-write the ending, Gepetto would live happily ever after and would never ever make another puppet.
The fairytale genre is still evident within the book, but it leans more towards the classic Grimm’s stories than a simple ‘princess in a castle’. The story includes the stereotypical hero and other characters: talking animals and fairies along the way, but it does not necessarily suggest it is all ‘happy ending’. Although Pinocchio ends the story telling us he is a ‘well-behaved little boy’ and how ‘silly he was as a puppet’, as a member of the audience, I am still not convinced!!! Nevertheless, you should keep this book as a ‘must read’ because it is a classic children’s novel… but don’t expect to be too impressed!!!