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Strega Nona

Strega Nona

4.8 31
by Tomie dePaola

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Tomie dePaola serves as "biographer" to his delightful Italian sorceress, Strega Nona, in this beautifully drawn prequel. The tale begins with little Nona's birth on a dark and stormy night, and ends where the original Strega Nona picks up-with Strega Nona taking on the bumbling, knock-kneed Big Anthony as an apprentice. This winsome story is illustrated


Tomie dePaola serves as "biographer" to his delightful Italian sorceress, Strega Nona, in this beautifully drawn prequel. The tale begins with little Nona's birth on a dark and stormy night, and ends where the original Strega Nona picks up-with Strega Nona taking on the bumbling, knock-kneed Big Anthony as an apprentice. This winsome story is illustrated throughout with Tomie dePaola's warm and sunny watercolors!

"dePaola does a splendid job of working this sparkling tale into the Strega Nona canon." -Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Staff
Strega Nona (Italian for "Grandma Witch") warns foolish Big Anthony never to touch her pasta pot. One day, Big Anthony sees Strega Nona sing to it, and the pot magically fills with spaghetti. What Anthony doesn't see is the three kisses Strega Nona blows to make the pot stop. Left alone for the day, Big Anthony excitedly uses the pot to feed the whole town, but is helpless when pasta flows everywhere. Strega Nona returns, stops the pot-and punishes Big Anthony by handing him a fork!
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
DePaola executes a clever concept with his trademark charm and humor, offering a prequel to the series that began in 1976 with the Caldecott Honor book Strega Nona. Here the author/artist tells how his charismatic character came to become a strega (witch) with a "magic touch." The "biography" begins on a dark and stormy night in the hills of Calabria, where Grandma Concetta authoritatively oversees Nona's birth. Convinced that Nona will be a strega like her, the big-hearted woman teaches her granddaughter how to use herbs and spells to remedy villagers' aches and troubles. Nona, along with her overconfident friend Amelia (who sets herself up as Nona's rival in some of the other books), attends the Academy for Stregas, but soon concludes that its newfangled approach to magic is not for her, and returns home to practice her craft the old-fashioned way. Eventually she discovers Grandma Concetta's all-important secret ingredient: love. With their expressive faces and pertly exaggerated profiles (Strega Nona's signature hooked nose punctuates her face even as a newborn), the classic characters happily cavort in sunnily colored, droll illustrations. And dePaola does a splendid job of working this sparkling tale into the Strega Nona canon: on the final page, for example, the aging strega opens her door to the first respondent to her ad for a helper, whom fans will immediately recognize as the gangly and beloved Big Anthony. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
For the last two years, publishers have been giving a number of picture books a new treatment in board book form. The Caldecott Honor book, Strega Nona, has just been given the treatment. The layout and artwork look great, but the story is complex and long for the board book crowd. It will work with those who have a longer attention span but they may not get the humor. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3In this prequel to the five other "Strega Nona" books, dePaola takes readers once again to the quaint hills of old Italy. The story begins with Nona's delivery at the hands of Grandma Concetta and closes as the aging Strega Nona answers her door to a knock-kneed apprentice-hopeful, Big Anthony. Along the way, readers learn how Concetta teaches Nona the mysteries of herbs and potions and, more importantly, her "secret ingredient." They see young Nona befriended by Amelia at convent school; later, they set off together for the modern Academy of Stregas. Proving herself clever and kind as well as skilled in magic, Nona eventually inherits Grandma Concetta's house and practice. All the familiar dePaola elements are here: the homey Italian phrases; appreciation of the old ways; and the characteristically charming, square-bordered scenes with their pink-tiled roofs, noble doves, and goofy goats. Tangerine is added to the usual pastel palette, giving the book a brighter look that stands out at story hour. Children will find many of the paintings hilarious. Though this book is a mere teaser on its own, it serves as the perfect final installment in any Strega Nona story fest, leaving children wanting still more of that "ingrediente segreto."Karen MacDonald, East Falmouth Branch Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
This warm and affable prequel to Strega Nona (1975) is a biography of the Italian sorcerer. It is a dark and stormy night in Calabria when baby Nona is born. Grandma Concetta pronounces that Nona will be a strega, and as the child grows, she teaches her lore. Baby Nona in her bonnet and the child Nona in her braids and trying a perm are humorous sights indeed as readers learn of the origins of this beloved character. An intriguing career choice confronts Nona as she tries a stint at the modern Accademia delle Streghe—the higher education institution for stregas. Homey Nona doesn't take to the new methods and longs for her dear Concetta and the countryside. There, her apprenticeship begins in earnest until the mantle of strega is placed upon Nona's shoulders. The secret of the pasta pot is lovingly passed on to her, and the last page reveals a private joke for readers of the other books: Big Anthony arrives at the door for the first time, in answer to an advertisement for an assistant. The familiar artwork is tinted in sophisticated watercolor hues and infused with warmth; the back jacket shows Strega Nona on an Italian hilltop gaily autographing books. Clearly, she and dePaola know plenty about labors of love.

From the Publisher
The New York Times Book Review "De Paola's illustrations aptly capture the whimsy of this ancient tale... simple line drawings clearly reveal the agony and ecstasy of pasta power, the muted colors create just the right ambiance for a Medieval village."

Product Details

Little Simon
Publication date:
Edition description:
Book and CD
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 12.34(h) x 0.28(d)
AD880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola is one of the most popular children’s book author-illustrators of our time. His humor, insight, and gentle art delight readers. A Newbery Honor award winner, he has written and illustrated a number of books for Simon & Schuster, including Caldecott Honor book Strega Nona; Charlie Needs a Cloak; Andy, That’s My Name; and Michael Bird-Boy, as well as Oliver Button Is a Sissy. A native of Connecticut, Mr. dePaola studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in New London, New Hampshire.

Brief Biography

Connecticut and New Hampshire
Date of Birth:
September 15, 1935
Place of Birth:
Meriden, CT

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Strega Nona 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Firestar51 More than 1 year ago
A good story for young children - entertaining and an easy opener for discussing one needing to take responsibility for the actions one takes. Set in easy to understand terms so even very young readers [4 or 5 yrs old]are able to see what happens when you do something you are told NOT to do... A favorite in our family with my 5 yr.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like strega n. Mees her match but this is good
Olivia-the-Great More than 1 year ago
Strega Nona By Tomie de Paola The people whisper about Strega Nona because she has a magic pot. Anthony made pasta for the people in the town. Anthony had to eat all the pasta all night long because he made a big mess. I will give it five stars. I love this book because Anthony had to eat all the pasta he made with the magic pot. It is good, awesome and great. I think moms, dads, kids, friends and family will like this book. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! My 4 year old enjoyed it as much as I did. Love the music with the narration and the illustrations are beautiful. This is a book all ages can enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher read it i love it!!! I love tomie de polo check out the art lessan by tomie de polo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My st udent, love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite Tomie dePaola--great story, very appealing illustrations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strega Nona is a wonderul book that allows children to peek into the costumes of the Italian culture. The books are engaging and children enjoy the fun illustrations. The strega non books also allow children to learn a few Italian words. I really enjoy the Strega Nona series and I highly recommend Strega Nona books to parents, students and fellow teachers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I've read it to many of my students when they came to the school library. The pictures are wonderful. BUT, why does it cost more as an ebook than the hardcover???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have loved strega nona ever since i was little and now im twelve and i am sick in bed with a fever and i cant wait to read it one again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a family classic for us, and we give it to all newborns in board book format. It's a perfect read-aloud book with a good moral, but also with a compassionate message.
michie8702 More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite childrens books. I had it when I was little and I'm planning on reading it to my children. I still remember that magic pasta pot! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stega Nona or the old witch who everyone talked about in the town, went to see her for anything from an headache, to finding a husband, and getting off warts. She was the witch of the town that solved everyones problems. But Stega Nona was getting old and needed some help. So Big Anthony came to work for Strega Nona. He had to 'sweep the house and wash the dishes. You must weed the garden and pick the vegetables. You must feed the goat and milk her. Amd you must fetch the water. For this i will give you three coins and a place to sleep and food to eat.' So it was a deal, Big Anthony went to work for Strega Nona. Then one day while doing his chores he hears Strega Nona sing to her pasta pot. Then all of a sudden the pot began to make pasta like magic. Will Big Anthony use the pasta pot for himself? Will he do the spell right? Will he ever get it to stop? Read and you will find out. This book is a delight to read. I think that it is good for students because it helps them learn about what is not theirs to use. this book is good for second grade Tomie DePaola lived in Connecticu and studied at Pratt Instutue in Brooklyn, NY. He now lives in New Hampshire. dePaola, Tomie. SRTEGA NONA. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a FABULOUS book. my teacher taught this to us back in the second grade and i have loved it ever since!! MARVELOUS!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Felicity0 More than 1 year ago
The story is an Italian folktale about Strega Nona, or “grandma witch” who cures everyone’s troubles through magic. Big Anthony is hired to help her with her duties and disobeys her instructions to keep away from a pot that he later sees she uses to perform her magic. Big Anthony uses the wrong words in trying to imitate her mystical works and ends up in a big mess. He learns his lesson in the end. This book is the start of a series of books about Strega Nona. This particular story won the Caldecott Award and was recognized for its marvelous illustrations. This book is fun and will truly be enjoyed by anyone who favors folktales.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this story ! I love sterga nona. I think that teachers would love reading this story to their class. It teaches a informatoinal lesson. I think the lesson is when someone tells you not to do it you should not do it. The illastrations are very colofull and nice, it tells what is happening this story. Whoever has nook color or a nook i think you should get this book
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Strega Nona means ¿Grandma Witch.¿ This is what everyone in the town called the old lady. All of the people would talk about Strega Nona but ¿even the priest and the sisters of the convent went, because Strega Nona did have a magic touch.¿ She cured anything and even ¿made special potions for the girls who wanted husbands. She was getting very old so she hired Big Anthony live with her, take care of her garden, and animals. One day he saw Strega Nona singing a song and a magic pot making pasta. What Anthony didn¿t see was ¿Strega Nona blow three kisses to the magic pasta pot.¿ When Anthony told everyone in town what he saw they didn¿t believe him. So he decided one day he would prove himself to them. When Strega Nona went to see a friend over the mountain, Anthony saw his chance. Strega Nona warned him to stay away from the magic pot. But Anthony didn¿t listen. Anthony ends up getting himself in big trouble and wishing he would have listened to Strega Nona and stayed away from the magic pot. Tomie dePaola is best known for his children¿s books. In the 40 years that he has been publishing books, he has written and/or illustrated over 200 books. Some of these include 26 Fairmount Avenue, and Meet the Barkers. His awards include the Caldecott Honor award (for Strega Nona), the Newberry Honor award, and the New Hampshire Governor¿s Arts Award of Living Treasure. Now he lives in New London, New Hampshire with his Airedale dog, Brontë. dePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1975
Guest More than 1 year ago
What exactly does the name Strega Nona mean? Strega Nona stands for Grandma Witch. This enchanting old tale is retold by Tomie dePaola. He has written and/or illustrated more than two hundred children books. The strong illustrations are able to communicate the entire plot of this particular story. All the people in the town come to Strega Nona¿s house for their troubles. ¿Even the priest and the sisters of the convent went, because Strega Nona did have a magic touch.¿ Strega Nona hired Big Anthony to help her out at the house because she was getting old. One day, Strega Nona had to go out of town, and she left Big Anthony in charge. However, Big Anthony did not follow her instructions. She told him to not touch the magic pot. Big Anthony¿s curiosity took over, because he had seen Strega Nona talk to the pot and make continuous pasta. So, Big Anthony decides he will take the magic pot to town and show the people in the town. He managed to make continuous pasta, but he couldn¿t stop the pasta. The pasta kept coming out almost taking over the whole town. Finally, Strega Nona comes back and takes care of it. So, what was the secret to stop the pasta from flowing out of the magic pot? The answer is a simple three kisses. dePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona. New York: Aladdin, 1975. Reading level: Preschool-Third Grade