During the Wars of Independence in 1848 and 1860 Collodi served as a volunteer with the Tuscan army. His active interest in political matters may be seen in his earliest literary works as well as in the founding of the satirical newspaper Il Lampione. This newspaper was censored by order of the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1849 but re-emerged in May 1860. Lorenzini had won fame as early as 1856 with his novel in vapore and had also begun intense activity on other political newspapers such as Il Fanfulla; at the same time he was employed by the Censorship Commission for the Theatre. During this period he composed various satirical sketches and stories (sometimes simply by collating earlier articles), including Macchiette(1880), Occhi e nasi (1881), Storie allegre (1887). In 1875, he entered the domain of children’s literature with Racconti delle fate, a translation of French fairy tales by Perrault.
In 1876 Lorenzini wrote Giannettino (inspired by Alessandro Luigi Parravicini’s Giannetto), the Minuzzolo, and Il viaggio per l’Italia di Giannettino, a series which explored the re-unification of Italy through the ironic thoughts and actions of the characterGiannettino. Lorenzini became fascinated by the idea of using an amiable, rascally character as a means of expressing his own convictions through allegory. In 1880 he began writing Storia di un burattino(“The story of a marionette”), also called Le avventure di Pinocchio, which was published weekly in Il Giornale dei Bambini (the first Italian newspaper for children).
“Lies are easily recognised, my boy, because there are two kinds. There are lies that have short legs, and lies that have long noses.”
The ultimate tale of misadventure has been interpreted from Collodi’s original Italian story and re-released for children (and adults!) to enjoy once again.
Kids might be aware of the story of this little wooden boy via modern adaptations, but there is so much more to this tale than the Disney portrayal.
When this book landed in my mailbox, I was so excited I began reading it straight away and barely put it down until it was finished. I love Collodi’s storytelling style, I love the messages within each chapter, and I love that the characters are simpler and yet much more rounded than many modern fictitious characters.
Did you know, for example, that the character of Jiminy Cricket is actually The Talking Cricket and is introduced, communicates his message and is killed off within one small chapter? Such an little-seen character can have such an impact on the story of a master narrator.
Each chapter is full of adventure and highlighted with a moral. The magic happens when all of these combine to create a story with an overall message of epic proportion – so much so that it has been told since 1881.
This is a must-have addition to any book collection, but be warned – by the time the whole family has read it and re-read it and then read it time and again, it will be a well-worn spine peeking from your shelf. Perfection.