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Pinocchio (Graphic Fiction

Once upon a time, the dream of a lonely woodcutter is fulfilled when his puppet comes to life. Unfortunately, Pinocchio quickly becomes more of a prankster than a pleasure. He would rather create mischief and play tricks than keep up on his studies. Soon, however, the wooden puppet learns that being a real boy is much more complicated than simply having fun.
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Two illustrated volumes of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio take the spotlight this fall. Robert Ingpen's edition starts on a note of humor, with inset illustrations showcasing his meticulous ink lines and cross-hatching. He depicts the newly emerging Marionette wearing Geppetto's wig, for instance, or a full-page image of Geppetto fitting the fellow with new feet after the puppet's burn in a fire. A wordless spread of the Assassins making off with Pinocchio, however, exudes an appropriate creepiness. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Gr 2-5-An idiomatic retelling of Collodi's didactic classic. While Mattotti's adaption hits all the high points of the original, readers are moved along too quickly through Pinocchio's sinister encounters with Stromboli (here called Fire-eater) and his puppet theater or the fox and the cat. Children don't have the opportunity to dwell on the satisfaction of seeing the recalcitrant puppet gradually change his ways. Also, the story is heavy: the fox and cat, after pretending to be lame and blind, end up in that condition; a cat has its paw bitten off; Pinocchio nearly dies rather than take his medicine; and four black rabbits bear his coffin into his bedroom. It's pretty fierce stuff for the bedtime-story set. The sinuous lines of the illustrations are overlaid with black crayonlike texture that reinforces the story's darkness. While some children may respond to the uniquely stylish artwork, they deserve the whole story, which is better served by Robert Innocenti's illustrations for E. Harden's translation of The Adventures of Pinocchio (Knopf, 1988).-Susan Hepler, Alexandria City Public Schools, VA

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