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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

The Strangest Pinocchio I Know

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about illustrated books for children (as opposed to picture books) in all their various forms.  And since I’ve a penchant for nostalgia, I often think of my youth and the illustrated novels I read then.  The mid to late 1980s were an odd time for illustration in general.  For whatever reason, fantasy illustrators who worked primarily in the field of adult literature would occasionally show up on the covers of middle grade, or what passed for YA, titles at this time.  And once in a great while they’d even illustrate the interiors.  Hence today’s example.

I first discovered the work of artist Greg Hildebrandt through, of all things, a fully illustrated version of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.  That, in turn, lead me to what I still consider one of the strangest and most interesting books I’ve seen to date.  It was a lushly illustrated version of Pinocchio, and the first time I’d seen anything that wasn’t Disney.  It was odd and original and I’ve never quite forgotten it.  Eventually I’d learn about Hildebrandt’s background in fantasy illustration as well as his work on books like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Wizard of Oz.  But, for me, Pinocchio is still the most memorable.  Some illustrations from the book:






About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. While reading this post, I thought, “Those illustrations look a lot like the ones from a Wizard of Oz book I had as a boy.”

    Annnnnnnnnnnnnd… I was right.,515517

    For what it’s worth, I was totally freaked out by most of the art. I still am An industrious Pinterest user has many of them posted, so I was able to take a trip down Nightmare Lane: