Pinocchio: The Origin Story

Pinocchio: The Origin Story


Written and illustrated by Alessandro Sanna
Translated from Italian by Michael Reynolds

A Brain Pickings Best Children’s Book of 2016

Told as a story of cosmic beginnings, this version of Pinocchio is about the formative energy and magic that reside in the wood that becomes the boy. This version is also about life on the molecular level and what it means to think about our composition as human beings from the point of view of energy and cosmic matter.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-191-9
8.8" (W) x 12.2" (H) • 48 pages • HC

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A Brain Pickings Best Children’s Book of 2016

★ "Alternating between panels and full- and double-page scenes whose bright, bleeding colors evoke tie-dyed fabrics, Sanna shows the proto-Pinocchio gathering companions and confronting a forest of trees and fire, a ravenous snake, and an enormous shark, before growing into a tree. It’s a haunting and wholly original perspective on Collodi’s classic that suggests that Pinocchio’s mischievous spirit draws from a primordial, even immortal, source of energy." ―STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

"In the astonishingly beautiful and tenderhearted Pinocchio: The Origin Story, Sanna imagines an alternative prequel to the beloved story, a wordless genesis myth of the wood that became Pinocchio, radiating a larger cosmogony of life, death, and the transcendent continuity between the two...A fitting follow-up to The River—Sanna’s exquisite visual memoir of life on the Po River in Northern Italy, reflecting on the seasonality of human existence—this imaginative masterwork dances with the cosmic unknowns that eclipse human life and the human mind with their enormity: questions like what life is, how it began, and what happens when it ends." —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"In the mostly wordless pages of Pinocchio: The Origin Story (Enchanted Lion, 48 pages, $19.95), exquisite paintings by the Italian watercolorist Alessandro Sanna depict a series of mystical events that produced the bit of wood that the woodcarver Geppetto would eventually fashion into a marionette―which became a real boy―in Carlo Collodi’s 1883 story ‘Pinocchio’ ... Powerful and strange, this picture book invites contemplation." ―Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

"Here, Sanna focuses on the piece of wood that eventually becomes the marionette, as if the wood is the toy’s very soul. It begins with a falling star, crashing to the earth, where a tree eventually grows. When a piece of lightning hits it, a branch falls. Alive with energy and joined by a fox and a cat, it wanders the forest, is set afire, is eaten by a snake and a shark, and much more. And that’s only the beginning, the final page reading, ‘So begins the story of a piece of wood.’ The art here is spectacular, and there’s much to chew on." —Julie Danielson, Kirkus Reviews

"Unique and wondrous, this picture book is something entirely special. It is an origin story about far more than Pinocchio himself, showing that we all originate from a certain spark. Then along the way we are filled with fire, discover companions, take adventures, grow into our own, and our story at that point is just beginning. The illustrations are spectacular. Done in watercolor that flows on the page, creating light and energy. There is also clever detailed use of the paint with leaves flowing to create characters and allowing space for almost mythical moments to take place on the page. There are deep colors of undersea and the dark of sky against snow. Beautiful, raw and filled with innate energy, this picture book is something very special." —Tasha Saecker, Waking Brain Cells

Luminous, ethereal watercolors depict a remixed Pinocchio story in Sanna's newest meditation. […] But the rich, meticulous, graphic-style illustrations, full of expressionistic color and minute, gestural details, should captivate patient readers of images. … Gorgeous visuals elevate this existential twist on a familiar but mostly unread classic.” —Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, School Library Journal


The River
The Forest
Big Wolf & Little Wolf: The Little Leaf that Wouldn't Fall