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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MeaghanRyan - LibraryThing

Strega Nona ("Grandmother Witch") helps all the townspeople with her magic powers. She becomes so busy that she hires Big Anthony to help out. She tells him to stay away from her magic pasta pot...but ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - manamakeri - LibraryThing

A classic folktale about listening to those who are in control and know more. While I understand that viewpoint, I also believe in proper education and engendering trust. Obviously, the entirety of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sgill17 - LibraryThing

This story is about a witch that lives in town, but all go to for help! She then helps and takes in a young man, but tells him the one thing he cannot do is touch the pasta pot! However, when he sees ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ImperfectCJ - LibraryThing

We aren't as huge Tomie dePaola fans as many people we know seem to be, but we did enjoy this book enough that it received multiple readings before we returned it to the library. My kids also enjoyed the Scholastic video that includes this story. Read full review

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My grandma always had this book in her back bedroom. When I would stay overnight at her house, she would read me Madeline, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Strega Nona. I love this author and have collected all of his books in my classroom library. This one is the most special to me because it reminds me of my grandma and also because my mom met Tomie and got an autographed copy! 

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Tomie dePaola's imaginative story introduces the magical Strega Nona, whose infinite wisdom is sought out by all families in the Italian neighborhood.

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Strega Nona Has Pasta Power
Strega Nona by Tomie De Paolo
There can be too much of a good thing. So says Tomie de Paolo in his delightful story Strega Nona.
It's not an unusual theme for him. It shows up in many of the books he writes and illustrates. It runs through one of our family's favorite books that he illustrated, Simple Pictures Are Best.
Strega Nona (which means "Grandma Witch") is a folk tale in the classic tradition. It contains a wise woman, a young fool, devout villagers, and a touch of magic. It opens in a small Italian village where we meet Grandma Witch, a woman treated with superstitious respect even by the priests and nuns of the area. We also meet Big Anthony, a large, slow-thinking young man who is Strega Nona's assistant. Through him, we learn why there is such a thing as "too much."
Strega Nona hires Big Anthony to help her with her work, but she warns him to never, ever touch her pasta pot. Do you think he can follow that simple instruction? Well, of course not. Especially not after he spies on her and learns how to work the magic to start it working. It's an enchanted pot, one that overflows with pasta until it is turned off. When Strega Nona goes off to visit a fellow witch in another village, Anthony invites the entire town to dinner. They eat their fill from the pasta pot, but Anthony can't turn it off, which means the pasta keeps coming and coming and coming. It threatens to drown the entire city before Strega Nona returns to set things aright.
While there is nothing heavy-handed about de Paolo's work, he does get across the idea that there are consequences to disobedience and good reasons to respect other people's property. Big Anthony also learns the hard way that too much stuff is a surefire way to a headache and stomachache. The story has a light, lyrical approach with dePaolo matching up the words and pictures so that neither are wasted and each draw you further into the story.
The masterful illustrations are a perfect display of the story. The three-panel strips tell the story quickly of why the villagers love their witch. She cares for them and eases their troubles. De Paolo's watercolors give character and life to each person crossing his pages. He also includes his trademark white dove as well as peacocks and other animals that surround Strega Nona, further illustrating her wisdom and earthiness.
Strega Nona came into being during a faculty meeting when de Paolo was doodling on a piece of legal pad note paper. He drew the little witch and instantly knew that she was Strega Nona, a woman somewhat inspired by his own Italian grandmother and her endless servings of spaghetti. From there the story grew and she became one of dePaolo's most popular creations. He went on to write additional books about her and Big Anthony.
Strega Nona was first written in 1975. It has been awarded a Caldecott Honor, an ALA Notable Children's Book, and been placed on the Horn Book Honor List.
One of the more amusing stories surrounding Strega Nona is that it is constantly billed as a "retelling" and people are constantly thanking de Paolo for telling the Strega Nona stories. This caused him a fair amount of consternation as he thought he had invented Strega Nona and simply used the folk tale structure as a device. He even has "an original tale" written on the cover. So he went searching through Italian folk tale and was able to find no reference to Strega Nona. The story itself is derived from The Porridge Pot, but Strega Nona is dePaolo's own, born in the faculty meeting and fleshed out by memories of his Calabrian grandmother.
--B. Redman

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A great tale dealing with aging and community.

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Our favorite book

User Review  - indekat -

My kids loveloved this book since they were little. Bought this copy for a baby shower. Hardcover beautiful inside cover. Read full review

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