It is considered a canonical piece of children's literature and has inspired hundreds of new editions, stage plays, merchandising and movies, such as Walt Disney's iconic animated version and commonplace ideas such as a liar's long nose. According to extensive research done by the Fondazione Nazionale Carlo Collodi in late 1990s and based on UNESCO sources, it has been adapted in over 260 languages worldwide. That makes it the most translated non-religious book in the world, and one of the best-selling books ever published. According to Francelia Butler, it remains "the most widely read book in the world after the Bible".
The Adventures of Pinocchio is a story about an animated puppet, boys who turn into donkeys and other fairy tale devices. The setting of the story is the Tuscan area of
In the 1850s, Collodi began to have a variety of both fiction and non-fiction books published. Once, he translated some French fairy-tales so well that he was asked whether he would like to write some of his own. In 1881, he sent a short episode in the life of a wooden puppet to a friend who edited a newspaper in
In the original, serialized version, Pinocchio dies a gruesome death: hanged for his innumerable faults, at the end of Chapter 15. At the request of his editor, Collodi added chapters 16–36, in which the Fairy with Turquoise Hair (or "Blue Fairy", as the Disney version names her) rescues Pinocchio and eventually transforms him into a real boy, when he acquires a deeper understanding of himself, making the story more suitable for children. In the second half of the book, the maternal figure of the Blue-haired Fairy is the dominant character, versus the paternal figure of Geppetto in the first part.
Children's literature was a new idea in Collodi's time, an innovation in the 19th century. Thus in content and style it was new and modern, opening the way to many writers of the following century.
Collodi, who died in 1890, was respected during his lifetime as a talented writer and social commentator, and his fame continued to grow when Pinocchio was first translated into English by Mary Alice Murray in 1892, whose translation was added to the widely read Everyman's Library in 1911. Other well regarded English translations include the 1926 translation by Carol Della Chiesa, and the 1986 bilingual edition by Nicolas J. Perella. Creator Carlo Lorenzini was supposedly inspired from his obsession with the human nose.
The popularity of the story was bolstered by the powerful philosopher-critic Benedetto Croce, who greatly admired the tale.