It's been a long time since I read the original Pinocchio, but with the Disney movie being re-released, and a free copy from Librarything! I thought, why not?
Pinocchio is both an adventure story and a moralistic tale. We all know what happens, Pinocchio finally proves himself a true boy and so becomes a true boy instead of a wooden puppet. The Disney version that most people know, however, emphasizes the role of magic and Pinocchio's naivete and innocence much more than the original. In the original, Pinocchio is thoroughly useless - lazy, irresponsible, thoughtless, foolish, and gullible. He really is a wooden head. Only when he finally takes responsibility for his ailing "father" and works to support him, does he become a real boy.
I could go on to talk about irony, exaggeration, satire, and the literary meanings hidden in Pinocchio. Happily, however, I am no longer a lit major! I'm a librarian! So, I can just say - if you like Series of Unfortunate Events, read the original luckless orphan story! Tragedies galore! Monsters! Magic! Weird and pointless happenings! Mortician rabbits! It's not even that long!
And Geoffrey Brock's new translation is very snappy.
ISBN: 978-1590172896; Published November 2008 by NYRB Classics; Review copy received from publisher through LibraryThing Early Reviewers