1. "You’ll grow up to be a real jackass"

    Pinocchio was initially serialized and, once upon a time, concluded with Pinocchio’s violent death before Collodi, at the request of his publisher, then extended the story and had the Beautiful Girl with the Sky-Blue Hair (whom Disney made the ‘Blue Fairy’) save him. If you have never read his tale and are expecting Disney’s version, you’ll be in for a shock. Instead, you can expect—as but one example of its bloodshed—cricketcide: When Pinocchio meets the Talking Cricket in chapter four and tells him he doesn’t want to study in school, the cricket tells him he’ll ‘grow up to be a real jackass’ and the source of everyone’s derision, later calling him a ‘blockhead.’ Then, Pinocchio jumps up in a rage and smashes the Talking Cricket with a wooden mallet. ‘With his last breath the poor Cricket cried cree-cree-cree and then died on the spot, stuck to the wall.’

    Jiminy who?

    —Fulvio Testa’s illustrated version of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, recommended in Kirkus Reviews by Julie Danielson as a “Gift for the Fairy Tale Lover in Your Life.”

  2. Literary Kids Book Reviews: Interview with Fulvio Testa  →


    Interview on November 11 2012 at the Waldorf Astoria NYC

    Introduction to Pinocchio by Umberto Eco, “…it’s not even a fairy tale, since it lacks the fairy tale’s indifference to everyday reality and doesn’t limit itself to one simple basic moral, but rather deals with many.”


    On Veteran’s Day a couple weeks ago, the internationally acclaimed children’s book illustrator Fulvio Testa sat down with me over tea in the Peacock Bar at the Waldorf Astoria to talk about his ground-breaking work for Geoffrey Bock’s new translation of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio.  The wide-ranging conversation inevitably led to a discussion of his artistic philosophy regarding children’s book illustration in general, and how he can’t get New York out of his mind.  

    Focus and Rhythm

             For this project, Testa told me how he created a special storyboard that allowed him to keep constant track of the visual and literary levels he was trying to maintain. During the process, he constantly asked himself, “How can I get readers to understand the story simply by creating an image? There are two ways that I might create an image, either one image with two stories, or one large edited image.” To choose the right scenes for Pinocchio, Testa outlined places where he felt the images would best compliment the text, and read the book repeatedly in order to completely grasp the flow of action.  Perhaps equally important to the actual artwork itself, he added, is the pacing and the precise location of where an image is placed in a printed book. “There are fifty-two images in this book, and they are relatively close together. I try to create a rhythm to the illustrations,” meaning that each picture represents a pivotal moment in the story, and in Pinocchio most chapters either end or begin with an illustration. The flowing imagery allows the reader to maintain a steady pace, while creating pauses in the storyline and breaking the text into manageable parts. 

    Read More

  3. Old Stories, New Illustrations

    Carlo Collodi’s 1883 Italian fable, Pinocchio, gains buoyancy from the cartoon figures and candy hues of Fulvio Testa’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations. This large, elegant volume about the wooden puppet that becomes a real boy recounts Pinocchio’s vertiginous, morally complex adventures with artistic good cheer that softens the sharper, scarier bits. The toothy mouth of the shark that swallows Pinocchio and his father, Geppetto, for instance, looks more like the entrance to an amusement park ride than a terrifying maw.

    —a review of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, illustrated by Fulvio Testa and translated by Geoffrey Brock in The Wall Street Journal's “Gift Guide 2012: Children’s Books.” Here’s Brock’s translation of the scene: “With renewed strength and energy, he began swimming toward the white rock, and he was already halfway there when he saw, rising out of the water and coming towards him, the terrifying head of a sea monster, its mouth gaping like a hugh cavern, and three rows of fangs that would have been scary even just in a picture.”

  4. To give you a taste, a selection of Fulvio Testa’s illustrations for Pinocchio, translated by Geoffrey Brock.

  5. The Jill Newhouse Gallery is exhibiting the watercolors of Fulvio Testa, who also illustrated our children’s edition of Pinocchio. Last night they hosted an event for the book, and Fulvio was on hand to sign in his unique style. Hope you can see that’s a pen he’s drawn on the half page.