Though one of the best-known books in the world, Pinocchio at the same time remains unknown—linked in many minds to the Walt Disney movie that bears little relation to Carlo Collodi’s splendid original. That story is of course about a puppet who, after many trials, succeeds in becoming a “real boy.” Yet it is hardly a sentimental or morally improving tale. To the contrary, Pinocchio is one of the great subversives of the written page, a madcap genius hurtled along at the pleasure and mercy of his desires, a renegade who in many ways resembles his near contemporary Huck Finn.
Pinocchio the novel, no less than Pinocchio the character, is one of the great inventions of modern literature. A sublime anomaly, the book merges the traditions of the picaresque, of street theater, and of folk and fairy tales into a work that is at once adventure, satire, and a powerful enchantment that anticipates surrealism and magical realism. Thronged with memorable characters and composed with the fluid but inevitable logic of a dream, Pinocchio is an endlessly fascinating work that is essential equipment for life.
Disney’s sentimental depiction of Pinocchio bears little resemblance to Collodi’s unscrupulous puppet. This new translation revives the sardonic wit and black humour of the original.
— London Times
Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio…is short on Disneyesque sentimentality (there is a talking cricket, but Pinocchio squashes him), long on satire and farce. Geoffrey Brock’s superbly crafted translation and Umberto Eco’s introduction bring to life this tale of gumption and greed.
— O, The Oprah Magazine
The superiority of the Collodi original to the Disney adaptation lies in its reluctance to make the inner motivations of the story explicit….No less than Proust’s novel in search of lost time, [Collodi’s] story is a search for his lost childhood.
— Paul Auster
Any [reading] list, I think, must begin with Pinocchio.
— Italo Calvino