The Adventures of Pinocchio

The Adventures of Pinocchio Study Guide

Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio is an 1883 Italian children's novel about an enchanted wooden puppet whose mischievous and lazy nature lands him in many punishing situations. Throughout the novel, the narrator and characters repeat didactic lessons about the importance of hard work and respecting one's parents.

Originally serialized in the children's magazine Giornale per i bambini as La Storia di un Burattino (The Story of a Marionette), The Adventures of Pinocchio comprises thirty-six short chapters in which Pinocchio encounters fairy-tale characters who help, deceive, or harm him. Carved by the beggar Geppetto out of a log of talking wood, Pinocchio struggles from the outset of his creation with the pressures of going to school and being an obedient boy. Preferring a life of leisure and play, Pinocchio ignores the advice of adults like Geppetto, the blue-haired Fairy, and the Talking Cricket, only to discover that they are right: nothing good happens to children who disobey their parents. In his adventures, Pinocchio survives burning off his feet, being hanged from a tree, serving a nonsensical prison sentence, being transformed into a donkey, getting caught in a hungry fisherman's net, and being swallowed by a giant dogfish. The novel ends with Pinocchio finally working hard to take care of Geppetto and the Fairy. As a reward, the Fairy turns him into a real boy and gives him and Geppetto a cozy house to live in.

Exploring themes of laziness, dishonesty, consequences, greed, sacrifice, redemption, and appreciation, The Adventures of Pinocchio is a classic of children's literature. The book has been adapted numerous times, with varying degrees of similarity to the original, most notably Disney's iconic animated film of 1940. It is the third most-translated literary work in the world, after the Bible and The Little Prince.