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Pinocchio is one of Italy’s most famous fairy tales. The story begins when Geppetto, an old woodcarver, creates a puppet from a very special piece of wood. Magically the puppet begins to talk and walk! Geppetto names the puppet Pinocchio and raises him as a son.
Even though Geppetto makes many sacrifices for him, Pinocchio is mischievous, disobedient and easily led astray. Pinocchio’s dream is to become a real boy but his friends the Cricket and Blue Fairy help him understand that his wish can not come true until he learns to be good and obedient.
Carlo Collodi was the pen name for Pinocchio’s author Carol Lorenzini. Lorenzini was born in Florence, Tuscany and took the name Collodi from his mother’s birthplace. As a young adult he became a journalist in order to support his country’s struggle for independence through his literary work.
Later in life his work shifted to editing and writing short stories. The first chapter of Pinocchio was published in a children’s magazine in 1881 and was an instant success.
When our book club studied Pinocchio our children were very interested to learn more about puppets and puppet shows, particularly marionettes. Marionettes are puppets that are controlled from above (by someone called a manipulator) by wire or strings. The puppets are typically in the form of a person or animal and have jointed limbs.
Our book club friends spent a morning together creating our very own Goofy Bird Marionettes. The directions were easy to follow and the kids had fun bringing their new bird friends to life.
The process of building the marionettes requires a number of different steps and we decided it best to give the puppets time to dry before performing a big show. Here are some of our creations:
During our next book club meeting the kids brought all of their new creations and performed an impromptu show — as you can imagine, it included a lot of running around on those very long bird legs…think ostrich races from Swiss Family Robinson!
If your family is interested in ideas for making other types of puppets for your very own puppet show, be sure to check our World Study Guide for Pinocchio for more suggestions!
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