For all its humor, the novel is dark and claustrophobic, and its true subject is the responsibilities of creators ... A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.
The register in which these ruminations are delivered will not be everyone’s cup of rum. But it can be haunting. Geppetto’s voice, full of wistful overemphases and bewildered revelation, is absorbing as he takes in the oddity of his situation. And the book, sentence by sentence, offers much in which to luxuriate ... Geppetto’s relentlessness can, however, be wearing. And the claustrophobia he experiences can also close in on the reader. But this sense of oppression is alleviated by the beautiful illustrations Carey has furnished his volume with, and dispelled by the seriousness with which, while avoiding solemnity, he pursues the book’s two overwhelming questions: what are our responsibilities to our creations, and how do we know them?
British writer and illustrator Carey brings his grotesque whimsy to this lackluster retelling of a harrowing episode from Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio ... The book feels both slight and overstuffed, a prolonged exercise in style that brings little insight into Collodi’s classic.