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Signor Tomato and Cipollino on a 1992 Russian stamp.

Cipollino, or Little Onion, is a fictional character from Gianni Rodari's eponymous Tale of Cipollino (Italian: Il romanzo di Cipollino), also known under its 1957 renamed title Adventures of Cipollino (Italian: Le avventure di Cipollino), a children's tale about political oppression. He also appeared before the publication of the book in the children's magazine Il Pioniere, which Rodari was editor.[1] Cipollino was popular in the Soviet Union, up to the point of being adapted as a ballet composed by Karen Khachaturian and choreographed by Genrik Alexandrovich Maiorov,[2] originally staged in Taras Shevchenko National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine in 1974.

In a world inhabited by anthropomorphic produce, Cipollino fights the unjust treatment of his fellow vegetable townsfolk by the fruit royalty (Prince Lemon and the overly proud Lord Tomato) in the garden kingdom. The main theme is the struggle of the underclass against the powerful, good versus evil, and the importance of friendship in the face of difficulties.[3]


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