THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO by Carlo Collodi; translated and illustrated by Francis Wainwright (Henry Holt: $16.45; ages 6-11; 96 pp.). This classic tale is set in Italy's Tuscan village of Collodi, which was the hometown of the author's mother. Carlo Lorenzini changed his name to "Collodi" and in 1881 his "Pinocchio--Storia di un burrattino" was serialized in Giornale per i bambini (Tiny Tots Paper). It has now been published in nearly every language, but this irrepressible puppet is probably best remembered--at least by modern children--for his starring role in Disney's animation.
Poor Pinocchio! In this original version he is even more of a rascal than in Hollywood's film. He is insolent, naughty, exuberant, and no matter how hard he tries to behave, his longing for adventure gets him in trouble. He is strung up by thugs, thrown off a cliff, eaten by a shark and turned into a donkey. When the "Talking Cricket" advises that those who disobey their parents will never be happy, Pinocchio flattens him with a mallet before he has a chance to sing and dance like Jiminy. Geppetto here is a raspy old gent in a blond wig whose temper lands him in a hilarious scuffle.