This illustrated edition of the magical tale of Pinocchio is not only a complete, unabridged version of the original story, but also a brand-new translation by the award-winner, Emma Rose.
translator, Emma Rose, illustrator, Sara Fanelli
This is a beautifully produced edition of Pinocchio - the full story! Rose’s detailed translation reveals how Carlo Collodi’s original tale is considerably more complex than any of those earlier abridged or animated versions which focus on the scrapes that Pinocchio gets himself into but largely omit his inner reflections. Now that we have the complete text once more, I am struck by how much closer it is to the subtleties of Alice in Wonderland than the fairy tales of Walt Disney.
Here we have all Pinocchio’s statements of good intent, followed, inevitably by his self-recriminations as he fails (yet again!) to follow the dictates of his conscience or the good advice of his father, the talking cricket and the good fairy, thus landing himself in catastrophe after catastrophe. However, Rose succeeds in capturing Collodi’s humourous and wryly ironic tone, as well as his sheer love of story-telling, so that the exploration of the puppet’s struggle to be good and to discover what it means to be human, while seriously important, never becomes tediously moralistic.
Sara Fanelli’s illustrations, ranging from small line sketches that skitter across the page to Pythonesque collages in full colour are both technically brilliant and excitingly diverse. But for me they have one great flaw - her two-dimensional paper Pinocchio never really comes to life and is at odds, therefore, with all those inner tensions that he experiences, which are revealed in the text. Luigi Cavalieri’s depictions of a skillfully jointed puppet, hand-crafted by Geppetto’s loving hands, which illustrate most pages of my 1930’s edition of the story, are more successful in suggesting that ambivalence about this live puppet without strings attached, which eventually allows him to turn into a real boy.
This new complete version has the capacity to appeal to a wide age range, including adults, whether it is read aloud to younger children or independently by older readers. It is a pleasure to handle and deserves a place in every library and as a special present for birthdays or Christmas. I wish it had been around when my children were growing up and I shall certainly buy copies for my grandchildren.
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