ever since i stumbled across a quote about teaching the alphabet to the ants, pinocchio has been on my to-read list. it's bit of a random story, not surprising for a print-by-the-week story. pinocchio's adventures include the ones featured in the disney film, as well as more outrageous ones. he goes from one scrape to another despite his promises to work hard and obey. eventually his bouts of diligence are longer than his vagabond periods, but it is only when he must nurse geppetto that he works and serves his father with his whole heart.
there's an undercurrent of christian ethics seen in the oft-repeated morals of working hard and helping others. overtones of the prodigal son story and bits of isaiah (where the righteous are judged against and the prisoners are set free) show up in the second half of the story. pinocchio's is a highly dramatized, often ridiculous, story that is nevertheless easy to relate to. i love the repeated maxim that little boys who won't learn and work turn into little donkeys, which is literally fulfilled by pinocchio and his friends. if i had a little boy, that's what i'd tell him to get him to do his homework.