So what happened to Pinocchio after he became a real little boy? Taking up where Mr. Collodi’s story finished, Mr. Smith’s Pinocchio is a caring, compassionate, game if slightly clueless little boy rather than the rebellious and surly creation that Collodi portrayed.
Featuring Mr. Smith’s zany but sharp cut-out illustrations, this story pushes Pinocchio away from 19th-century Italy to a contemporary world, one that has skating rinks, clothing stores, puppet theaters and enormous outdoor screens that you might find in Times Square. There are even sly references to cartoonists and Collodi himself if you look carefully.
Pinocchio’s efforts to help his ailing father are sweet, comical and endearing. He doesn’t realize that he’s been made into a real, live flesh-and-blood boy (the silly Blue Fairy changed him while he was sleeping) and doesn’t understand why no one appreciates his efforts to work as a puppet or wooden statue. I don’t think Herschabel was necessary as a character, though. She just basically trailed after Pinocchio, commented about his foolish antics and provided the Blue Fairy with a daughter. She didn’t really help at all and I’m thinking the book could have managed without her.
Other than that, the story is charming and a credible sequel to Collodi’s classic novel about a mischievous wooden boy. It’s a tender story with a sweetly happy ending.
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