Book: Pinocchio by Michael Morpurgo  

Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

Published by Harper Collins Review by Lesley Finlay

I happened to pull this out of my bag during a visit to a Year 6 class in a Kentish primary school.  The class teacher nearly snatched it from my hands, then remembering her manners, asked me about the book, not for one second taking her eyes off it. ‘I didn’t know Michael Morpurgo had done that one…’ she said, longingly, and promptly shared the good news with her pupils, who let out a collective gasp of delight.

If that is what the name of our fine author does to a class of kids, I have no doubt their anticipation will be sated completely as of course, this modern take on one of the classic fairytales is completely charming.

Coupled with Emma Chichester Clark’s wonderfully expressive, comical and apt illustrations this is sure to become a must for bookshelves across the land. So what of the story? Morpurgo uses Pinocchio as the narrator, telling his story from the very beginning ‘So here’s how I began. I was a tiny cherry pip in a blackbird’s beak…’ and from that simple but genius sentence we hear the naughty puppet’s story from his own point of view.

Young Pinocchio is selfish, self-centred and short-sighted…er like all children but like all children he is charming too, promising faithfully to be good ‘this time’ but then hurtling headlong into a variety of fantastic scrapes. Simply adorable. IP