As a young man Collodi worked as a bookseller. He later became a journalist, motivated by an interest in Italy’s political situation. At that time Italy was not a unified nation as it is today, but rather a patchwork of governments, many of which were controlled by other countries. Collodi supported a movement to make Italy an independent nation. To that end, at the age of 22 he founded a newspaper called Il Lampione (The Lamp Post), which combined satiric humor and news. The movement was successful and Italy became one nation around 1871, with Rome as its capital.
Collodi continued working as a magazine editor. He also began translating French fairy tales. Writing his own children’s tales was a logical next step. In 1881, Pinocchio appeared as a serial in Giornale dei Bambini (Journal for Children), a magazine responding to the increasing interest in children’s literature. The story of the puppet/boy Pinocchio, whose independent spirit and gullibility land him in increasingly dramatic situations, was immediately popular. Church leaders, however, disapproved, fearing it would encourage a rebellious spirit in the nation’s youth.
Initially Collodi ended the story with Pinocchio hanged in a tree, presumed dead. The author had no intention of reviving him, but the public clamored for Pinocchio’s return. So, Collodi brought the puppet back to life and sent him on even more sensational adventures.
Create Your Own Children’s Newspaper
Like Carlo Collodi, create your own newspaper and fill it with humorous articles.
What is the name of your newspaper?
Write a funny story, or an article poking fun at something.
Illustrate your newspaper, either with your own drawings, or with images from magazines. Remember, the newspaper is supposed to be amusing.
As a reporter, write a humorous article about an episode in a book or a play as if it actually happened.
Create your own new adventure for Pinocchio before he becomes a boy.
Now imagine you are going to write a book called Pinocchio’s Life as a Real Boy. Create an episode of his life as a boy, and share your story with the class. How do the adventures compare? Which stories do you prefer?