09 December, 2009

Vintage Children's Books - The Adventures of Pinocchio

In the past few months I have been trawling opp shops (Thrift stores to US readers!) and stores for vintage children's annuals and children's books. I especially love old English books like Enid Blyton (Noddy, Famous Five and Secret Seven) and Australian classics such as 'Seven Little Australians'. As well as being visually beautiful, the language in them is really quite exquisite and much more enjoyable to read than many modern books. Recently I found a lovely 1950's version of 'The Adventures of Pinocchio' by Charles Collodi.

Bought at Lost and Found Market, Collingwood, Melbourne for $10 (see short review below at end of blog) 

The illustrations, as with many vintage books, are beautiful.

The story is a little different in parts to the Disney version (by the way, I love the Disney version too - I think Walt Disney was fantastic).  For instance, there is a section in which the 'assassins' hang Pinocchio on the oak tree and another part where a man wants to make a drum out of Pinocchio's skin! Perhaps unsurprisingly, these were not included in Disney's version.

But the thing that really stands out is the beautiful language used in the book eg: from Chapter 1:

"Once upon a time where was  . . .  "A King!" my small readers will exclaim. No, children, you are mistaken.  Once upon a time where was a piece of wood.
It was not the best wood, but just a common piece, such as we use in stoves and fireplaces to kindle a fire and warm our rooms in winter".

I am a university teacher and I just wish that my students could write like this (seriously!).

I would recommend this book to you all - adults and children (I am reading it myself, just to savour the language).  Really very beautiful.

I am an avid book reader, so keep your eye out for future book reviews and suggestions! I would love to hear yours too.

Happy reading!

PS I bought this book in the great vintage store in Melbourne, Lost and Found Market (12 Smith St Collingwood VIC 3066 - (03) 9419 4477 - see photo of the market at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hellodaniel/3186597384/). The Lost and Found market is, in my opinion, not so great for quality vintage, but is great for cheaper 60's and 70's stuff. The prices are generally quite reasonable and the selection is HUGE. You will need at least one hour to see everything, perhaps two.


  1. Love these old books, and op shopping!
    Salvo's in Oakleigh have a shedload of old books at the moment, many unusual titles from the early 1940s ;)

  2. Thanks Jayne. I go to Oakleigh a lot and have bought some nice things at Salvos so I will drop in soon. I also quite like St Vinnies in Oakleigh (on Crowe Road) - good for accessories like bags and gloves. There is another smaller op-shop in Oakleigh on a side street - they occasionally have 50's hats and things but tend to be a bit overpriced (still, all goes to a good cause). Thanks for reading my blog!