The Adventures of Pinocchio was written by Italian author, Carlo Collodi, in 1883. It follows the story of a wooden puppet, carved from a piece of pine by village woodcarver Geppetto. This puppet dreams of becoming a real boy. The name Pinocchio is a Tuscan word meaning ‘pine nut’.
GEPETTO is a village woodcarver who makes puppets. One day, MASTER CHERRY arrives with a piece of pine he has found. This wood has spoken to him and it unnerves him. He gives it to GEPETTO, telling him that it is ‘special’ wood. So GEPETTO decides to do something special with it. He has always wanted a son, so he turns the wood into the most lifelike little puppet boy he has ever made … to be his son. When the puppet is finished, GEPETTO is surprised to find that it talks to him – like a real son. PINOCCHIO is rude and obnoxious, but GEPETTO doesn’t care – he has a son!
Another strange character has also entered the workshop. He is CONSCIENCE and tries to guide PINOCCHIO and temper his rudeness.
So, PINOCCHIO is sent off to school, but on the way he stops at a puppet theatre to see his old friends. He trades his schoolbook for a ticket. During the show, HARLEQUIN and PUNCHINELLO, who recognise PINOCCHIO, invite him onto stage and a ruckus ensues with the audience. FIRE-EATER enters and takes PINOCCHIO to the furnace for fuel. PINOCCHIO pleads that it would make his poor father sad and FIRE- EATER, moved by his tale, gives him a small bag of gold and sends him on his way.
PINOCCHIO decides to give school a chance and is heading there when he meets FOX and CAT, who persuade him to bury his gold coins in the ‘Field of Miracles’, where they will be magically doubled in number. Next day, when he finds he has been conned, CONSCIENCE consoles and instructs him and introduces him to the BLUE FAIRY. He begs the FAIRY to turn him into a real boy, but she tells him that only he has the power to change himself – if, in fact, he really wants to change. PINOCCHIO begins to lie about his desire to be good, obedient, embrace hard work and go to school … but finds that with each lie his nose begins to grow.
Finally at school, PINOCCHIO meets CANDLEWICK and his friends. They persuade him to leave the school at lunchtime and go to ‘Toyland’. Against the advice of CONSCIENCE and the BLUE FAIRY, he joins the boys. Once there, he meets a DONKEY, who was once a boy but stayed too long in Toyland.
Five months later, PINOCCHIO wakes one day to find that he has grown donkey ears. CONSCIENCE and the BLUE FAIRY remind him that he is responsible for his own decisions and will have to work at losing the donkey ears by himself.
Leaving Toyland, PINOCCHIO is wandering about, tired and hungry. He comes across a circus, where the RINGMASTER takes him in as a performing DONKEY. He has a bad experience with a hoop and decides to leave and go in search of his father GEPETTO who is somewhere out in the world looking for him.
PINOCCHIO comes to a beach and decides to take a swim. Under the water, swimming with the SEA CREATURES, he finds that his donkey ears have gone and he is a puppet once more. His joy is short-lived, however, as they are all suddenly swallowed by a whale.
Inside the whale, PINOCCHIO hears the voice of GEPETTO, who was swallowed some months ago when he fell out of his boat while searching for his son. Together, they tickle the whale’s throat and exit on a large whale sneeze.
Back home in GEPETTO’s workshop PINNOCHIO is remorseful at his foolishness and concerned that he has let everyone down and ruined his chances of becoming a real boy. CONSCIENCE and the BLUE FAIRY appear and tell him that his remorse has changed him already. Tapping his chest they find not the hollow sound of wood but … a beating heart. With a final sprinkle of fairy dust PINOCCHIO becomes a boy.