The Italian Almanac

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angry Pinocchio

Pinocchio for Bullies

The head of a northern Italian middle school said that he would punish bullies by making them read aloud from the Italian children`s classic Pinocchio. Giuseppe Castrillo, principal of Anna Frank Middle School in Piacenza, said the punishment occurred to him after a recent classroom scuffle. ``It was an unpleasant episode between a pair of students who threatened to beat each other up,`` said Castrillo. ``If it happens again, I`ll bring them both into my office and have each of them read aloud from Pinocchio for an hour.``

Castrillo said other reading might include the 1886 novel Cuore, a patriotic children`s story by Edmondo De Amicis used to teach generations of young Italians about civic values. The Catholic-school trained headmaster added that he would then quiz the bullies on what they had read. ``The punishment isn`t reading, it`s having to read with the principal`` Castillo said. ``I`m ready to reward improvement,`` he added, promising to give bullies who learned their lesson free copies of the book.

Published in 1880s by Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio is a story about a mischievous puppet in 19th century Tuscany. Before becoming a classic of children`s literature, Collodi intended the story as a satire on contemporary society which ended with Pinocchio being hung for his many faults. Collodi later revised the story at his editor`s request adding the happy ending made famous in its many film adaptations from the 1940s Disney classic to the 2002 film starring Roberto Benigni.