A guest link from Scott Simon in the Wall Street Journal:
The Joy of Reading ‘Pinocchio’—On Paper
He’s a puppet-boy in a book my daughters run to find each morning, not digits in a download.
By SCOTT SIMON
We blundered into the bookstore between the pizza place and the gelato spot while vacationing in Santa Rosa, Calif., one last little exploration before we put our daughters (and ourselves) to bed after a busy day.
Our children, who are 8 and 4, have grown up seeing bookstores burst with games, toys, coffee frappes, cards, crayons, banana muffins and, incidentally, books.
I understand. If I ran a bookstore these days, I’d sell radial tires to stay in business.
But Treehorn Books in Santa Rosa has no diversions. Mounds of used books—musty, musky books, well-thumbed and worn, teetering and tottering Tower-of-Pisa style—are the sole enterprise.
My wife and I thought we might browse briefly before our daughters clamored for the gelato next door. But they opened books respectfully, as if popping the top of a secret, ran their fingers over old illustrations gently, and asked if we knew the stories.
Among the books we brought back to our room was “Pinocchio,” a 1978 Illustrated Junior Library edition of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 classic, with illustrations by Fritz Kredel. The book’s inside cover is signed (in cursive—already dating it), “Dorothy Santos.”
We opened Dorothy Santos’s old book that night. We have been stretching out and savoring it, chapter by chapter, every day since.
Pinocchio, of course, is a puppet that wants to be a boy, carved by a kindly, lonely man who craves the love of a child. Pinocchio, almost refreshingly, is the kind of boy who would be bad for any of the Disney Princesses. He wants to get rich quick through tricks instead of work. He rejects those who truly love him to dally with those who want only to use him.
Nowadays, the Blue Fairy might tell Pinocchio, “You are wood, and you are good! Get some self-esteem!” But the 1883 Pinocchio blames only himself for being a silly, churlish and disobedient “blockhead.” And yet, how can you not love the way a little boy’s spirit fights to get out of a piece of wood?