Perhaps the best part of this 'Picture Book of the Week' feature that I've started is that I've gotten to go through my library and reread a lot of these books that I absolutely love. As a writer, I find Picture Books incredibly inspirational. They never fail to engage my imagination and get me thinking about different ways storytelling. For this week's pick, I chose a little known book from a well known illustrator. This book makes me laugh every time I pick it up. I hope you get the chance to enjoy it, too.
Pinocchio the Boy (or Incognito in Collodi) by Lane Smith
This delightful story picks up where the classic novel ends...after a clever one page, tongue-in-cheek summary of course. However, it seems Pinocchio was changed into a real boy while he slept. When he wakes, he is completely unaware of his transformation. So as he ventures into town to earn a little money to buy soup for Geppetto, sick with a cold from spending a night in a fish, Pinocchio doesn't understand why everybody is reacting so oddly toward him.
They boo him off the stage when he attempts a puppet show where previously he was a big hit. They think he's lying when he tells them about his little nose problem. He is even scoffed at by his talking cricket who doesn't recognize him. Luckily a little girl takes pity on this boy who she can only assume has a few loose screws and befriends him.
Told in very minimal text, this book is deceptively advanced. The humor in this book is very subtle, yet extremely witty and sophisticated. Older children will certainly appreciate the jokes more than the younger ones. However, every one is sure to love the illustrations. Lane Smith, best known for his award winning illustrations for Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man, is a master at playing with perspectives and styles. There is so much to see and admire in every illustration that you could literally spend hours staring at them.