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Buratino facts for kids

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Dmitri Iosifov as Buratino holding the Golden Key in the 1975 film The Adventures of Buratino
Russia stamp 1992 No 15
A Russian postage stamp from 1992 with an illustration of Buratino

Buratino (Russian: Буратино) is the main character of the book The Golden Key, or the Adventures of Buratino (1936) by Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy, which is based on the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Buratino originated as a character in the commedia dell'arte. The name Buratino is derived from the Italian burattino, which means wooden puppet or doll. The book was published in 1936, and Buratino quickly became hugely popular among children in the Soviet Union, and remains so to this day (Buratino is one of the most popular characters of Russian children's literature). The story has been made into several films, including the animated 1959 film and the live action 1975 film.


According to Tolstoy, he had read Pinocchio as a child, but, having lost the book, he started re-imagining it many years later in an attempt to come up with a series of bedside stories for his own children. The resulting story turned out to be so original and became so loved by the writer's children, that he decided to put it to paper and publish it. Researchers, however, don't tend to find this explanation plausible, since the first Russian translation of Pinocchio didn't appear until Tolstoy was in his mid-twenties. Miron Petrovsky, in his article on the subject, states that the book was based upon a 1924 translation made by Nina Petrovskaya (1879-1928) and edited by Tolstoy, who had already removed many of the elements absent in The Golden Key.


Like Pinocchio, Buratino is a long-nosed wooden puppet. According to the story, he is carved by Papa Carlo (the story's version of Geppetto) from a log, and suddenly comes to life. Upon creation, Buratino comes out long-nosed due to Papa Carlo's sloppy woodworking. Papa Carlo tries to shorten it, but Buratino resists.

Papa Carlo then sells his only good jacket in order to buy textbooks for Buratino and sends him to school. However, the boy becomes distracted by an advertisement for a local puppet theater show, and sells his textbooks to buy a ticket to the show. There he befriends other puppets, but the evil puppetmaster Karabas Barabas (the story's Mangiafuoco character) wants to destroy him because Buratino disrupted the show.

Karabas Barabas releases Buratino after he learns that Papa Carlo's home contains a secret door for which Karabas has been searching. A Golden Key that Karabas once possessed, but later lost, opens this secret door. Karabas releases Buratino and even gives him five gold coins, asking only that Buratino watch after his father's home and make sure they do not move.

The story proceeds to tell of Buratino and his friends' hunt for the Golden Key, and their struggle against the evil Karabas, his loyal friend Duremar, as well as a couple of crooks: Alice the Fox and Basilio the Cat (based on The Fox and the Cat), who are after Buratino's coins. Many of Buratino's further adventures are, however, derived from Collodi's Pinocchio, but are reworked to fit into Tolstoy's story.

Deviations from Collodi's story

  • The Fairy with Turquoise Hair is in Tolstoy's version another puppet from Karabas's theatre, named Malvina. She retains the blue colour of her hair, her poodle servant (called Artemon by Tolstoy) and her function of saving Buratino from the Fox and the Cat who hanged him on a tree. To explain her presence in the forest, it is stated that she had escaped from the theatre earlier. She is represented as somewhat overprotective and less likable than Collodi's Fairy, yet finally befriends Buratino.
  • The character of Pierrot is introduced. He is in love with Malvina. Pierrot is represented as an archetypal poet (his poems are actually cited).
  • Tolstoy omits most details which in the 20th century would be considered too gruesome or too moralistic, such as: Pinocchio having burned his feet; black rabbits pretending to be about to bury him; the whole Land of Toys subplot; the shark swallowing Pinocchio and his father etc.
  • Unlike Pinocchio in the original story, Buratino never shifts to right behaviour (however he is much kinder than Pinocchio) and does not become a real human. Quite the contrary, he is rewarded for not following the rules of what is assumed to be right behaviour (while he was never as cruel as Pinocchio) and being nonconformist. In the finale, we see him playing in a new puppet theatre of Carlo's.
  • Buratino's nose does not grow when he lies.


  • Buratino is a wooden puppet with a long nose.
  • Papa Carlo (Russian: Папа Карло) is a barrel organ player of little means, who created Buratino.
  • Giuseppe (Джузеппе), nicknamed "Giuseppe the Blue Nose" for always being drunk, is a woodworker and a friend of Carlo. He wanted to make a table leg from the talking log, but got scared and finally gave the log as a present to Papa Carlo.
  • Karabas Barabas (Карабас-Барабас) is an evil puppeteer. He owns a puppet theater with many marionettes, including Malvina, Pierrot, and Harlequin.
  • Malvina (Мальвина) is a beautiful female puppet with blue hair.
  • Artemon (Артемон) is Malvina's loyal poodle.
  • Pierrot (Пьеро) is a sad puppet and a poet who is deeply in love with Malvina.
  • Harlequin (Арлекин) is Pierrot's scene partner in Karabas's theatre. He usually mocks and beats Pierrot.
  • Alice the Fox (Лиса Алиса) and Basilio the Cat (Кот Базилио), two swindlers.
  • Tortila the Turtle (Черепаха Тортила) gives the Golden Key to Buratino, the same key that was lost by Karabas.
  • Duremar (Дуремар) is a partner of Karabas Barabas who catches leeches for a living and so disturbs Tortilla's pond.


  • The Golden Key, a 1939 movie combining live action and stop-motion animation.
  • The Adventures of Buratino, a 1959 cartoon.
  • The Adventures of Buratino, a 1975 TV film.
  • Buratino, Son of Pinocchio, a 2009 film.
  • The computer game The Adventures of Buratino [ru] was released in 1993, the first graphic adventure computer game released in the post-Soviet Russia.
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