Pinocchio, the name a variant of common "pinolo" (pine seed), is a fictional character and the protagonist of the children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) by Italian writer Carlo Collodi. Carved by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a small Italian village near Florence, he was created as a wooden puppet but dreamed of becoming a real boy. He has also been used as a character who is prone to telling lies and fabricating stories for various reasons. The story has appeared in many adaptations in other media. Pinocchio has been called an icon of modern culture and one of the most re-imagined characters in the pantheon of children's literature. Pinocchio is known for having a short nose that becomes longer when he is under stress (chapter 3), especially while lying. His clothes are made of flowered paper, his shoes are made of wood and his hat is made of bread (page 16 of Collodi's Le Avventure di Pinocchio). In this, the original tale, Collodi describes him as a “rascal,” “imp,” “scapegrace,” “disgrace,” “ragamuffin,” and “confirmed rogue,” with even his father, carpenter Geppetto, referring to him as a “wretched boy.” Upon being born, Pinocchio immediately laughs derisively in his creator’s face, whereupon he steals the old man’s wig. Pinocchio’s bad behavior, rather than being charming or endearing, is meant to serve as a warning. Collodi originally intended the story, which was first published in 1881, to be a tragedy. It concluded with the puppet’s execution. Pinocchio’s enemies, the Fox and the Cat, bind his arms, pass a noose around his throat, and hang him from the branch of an oak tree. …a tempestuous northerly wind began to blow and roar angrily, and it beat the poor puppet from side to side, making him swing violently, like the clatter of a bell ringing for a wedding. And the swinging gave him atrocious spasms…. His breath failed him and he could say no more. He shut his eyes, opened his mouth, stretched his legs, gave a long shudder, and hung stiff and insensible.
On December 25, a new live-action version of the classic tale Pinocchio, starring and directed by Roberto Benigni, will open in the U.S. Many versions of the original story by Carlo Collodi are already available, but Steerforth Press is issuing a new edition of The Adventures of Pinocchio for the occasion. Fluidly translated from the Italian by Nancy Canepa and sporting stylish line drawings by Carmelo Lettere, this should prove a tasteful alternative to the inevitable tie-in edition, and if prominently displayed could sell well over the holidays. Collodi's witty, satiric tale is much harsher than its Hollywood adaptation, and grownups will appreciate it as much or more than children.