Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Adventures of Pinocchio (Sterling Publishing)

If you want the next generation of adults to love reading, you have to instill that love in them when they are children. Unfortunately, that task is much harder than it used to be, due to all the distractions that exist now. From television to video games, smartphones to tablets, books are fighting an uphill battle. Thankfully, there are still publishers out there who believe in printing quality books to engage your children's imaginations. Sterling Publishers is one of those companies, and today I am reviewing the book The Adventures of Pinocchio.

The Adventures of Pinocchio is the latest release from the Sterling Illustrated Classics line. It is also my first experience with this line of books, so I wasn't sure what I'd be getting in terms of book quality. Most children's hardcovers that I own are generally 8.5" x 11" with about 30 or so glossy pages. This book, however, is 8" x 9.5" with 200+ thick pages and a ribbon to mark your place. When you take off the dust jacket, you see an imprint of carpenter's tools on the front of the book. This is a minor thing, but I feels it adds a touch of class to the book. It also shows an attention to detail that many publishers lack. Opening the book literally caused both mine and my wife's jaws to drop. There are rich illustrations on every page. The illustrator, Robert Ingpen, who I learned has done all the books in this series, went above and beyond in his duty. He also provides an explanation at the end of the book of why he chose to illustrate the way he did. Mr. Ingpen provided an exquisite picture at the beginning of every chapter to entice and invite children into the story to learn what is going to happen in the story.

As for the story, where do I begin? I admit to being ignorant to the story of Pinocchio. I have seen the Disney movie several times, and I always just assumed that it was based on some sort of Grimm or Anderson fairy tale. In actuality, the story was written by Italian author Carlo Collodi in the late 1800s. There are various aspects in this story that one will recognize from the Disney movie, like Gepetto, the Talking Cricket, the desire to be a real boy, etc. However, the book is a bit darker. For example, Gepetto is not some kindly old man but quick-tempered and prone to explosions. Pinocchio, himself, doesn't start off completely innocent (as in the movie), but is mischievous from the beginning and downright mean as he kills the Talking Cricket in Chapter 4.

A lot of parents might not be okay with this darkness and trouble the young puppet gets into. I would not be one of those parents though. This is a book that is heavy in allegory, and it is why some people view Pinocchio as an epic hero. Like other epic heroes, Pinocchio must travel to hell, but he ultimately comes back with greater knowledge and compassion. In doing so, he finally achieves his life-long goal and becomes a real boy. There are many versions of The Adventures of Pinocchio on the market. However, Sterling Publishers is the one I want on my shelf; the one I will read to my children time and time again; and one I will wholeheartedly recommend to others. Be sure to look for other titles in their Illustrated Classics line, because they really do a wonderful job of making the story come alive!

This book was provided to me for free by Sterling Publishers in exchange for an honest review! If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!