Strega Nona's Gift

Strega Nona's Gift

by Tomie dePaola
     
 

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In Strega Nona's village, the holiday season is a time of celebrations - and nothing says celebration like a feast! All the kitchens are bustling from the Feast of San Nicola, when the children choose the food, to the Feast of Epiphany, when someone gets to be king or queen for the day. Even the animals share in the holiday spirit, and when Big Anthony smells the

Overview

In Strega Nona's village, the holiday season is a time of celebrations - and nothing says celebration like a feast! All the kitchens are bustling from the Feast of San Nicola, when the children choose the food, to the Feast of Epiphany, when someone gets to be king or queen for the day. Even the animals share in the holiday spirit, and when Big Anthony smells the delicious treats Strega Nona is cooking for them, he decides that just a taste couldn't hurt, right? Wrong! Big Anthony gets his just desserts, while Strega Nona surprises everyone with a special gift.

Starring two of Tomie dePaola's best-loved characters, this funny story features beautiful art, introduces young readers to Italian holiday traditions, and lands Big Anthony in yet another silly predicament that will delight fans young and old.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Strega Nona and her entire Calabrian village are busy preparing for holiday feasts, from the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6 to Il Capodanno (New Year’s Day) and beyond. On January 5, the eve of the Epiphany, when everyone traditionally cooks for their animals, Big Anthony can’t resist “Signora Goat’s” delicious food, and the resentful goat devours Big Anthony’s blanket. Too cold to sleep, Anthony misses out on the dreams of delicious food that Strega Nona’s magic grants the people of Calabria: “The walls turned into ricotta and mozzarella. Bedposts became sausages.” DePaola delivers a hearty sampler of Italian holiday traditions and seasonal cuisine. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
The Horn Book
"Glowing watercolors in warm Mediterranean colors. . . . Community, piety, ritual, and food: Strega Nona and Tomie dePaola know exactly what Christmas is all about."
Booklist
"A lively story. . . . Kids will enjoy the mischief and the turnarounds, shown with gentle humor in the joyful acrylic-and-watercolor pictures filled with food, singing, and dancing."
From the Publisher
"Fans of Strega Nona and her bumbling helper will delight in this funny tale. . . . Infused with warm Italian flavor and decorated with dePaola's signature charming illustrations, this is a holiday selection that readers will savor." — School Library Journal

"Glowing watercolors in warm Mediterranean colors. . . . Community, piety, ritual, and food: Strega Nona and Tomie dePaola know exactly what Christmas is all about." — The Horn Book

"A lively story. . . . Kids will enjoy the mischief and the turnarounds, shown with gentle humor in the joyful acrylic-and-watercolor pictures filled with food, singing, and dancing." — Booklist

"DePaola delivers a hearty sampler of Italian holiday traditions and seasonal cuisine." — Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Ellen Welty
Strega Nona and her assistant Big Anthony are back in a holiday adventure. There is a different feast for each of several holidays that happen in the winter months of every year. Strega Nona prepares food for each of them. For the feast to celebrate the Eve of Epiphany she has prepared special dishes for all the animals. For Big Anthony she has prepared plain noodles. She sends a delicious dream to all the humans but Big Anthony has eaten the food she intended for her goat and the goat has eaten Big Anthony's blanket in return. Since he does not get to sleep because he is too cold, he does not receive the wonderful dream that Strega Nona sent him and he is hungry the next morning. All ends well however because she gives Big Anthony a new blanket and a dish of the food she had prepared for the goat. Big Anthony gives the food to the goat and keeps the blanket, having learned his lesson. While the illustrations are as charming as ever, the story would have worked better with fewer holidays and more of the normal humor that readers have come to love in Strega Nona's previous adventures. There is a nice page at the end that describes all the winter holidays and how they are celebrated. Reviewer: Ellen Welty
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Fans of Strega Nona and her bumbling helper will delight in this funny tale in which the many feasts of the holiday season are the focal point. All is well until the eve of the Epiphany, the special night when animals are rumored to talk and are therefore well fed by their owners. Big Anthony greedily consumes the goat's treats, and the animal retaliates by eating his blanket. He suffers a cold and sleepless night without receiving the dreams of bountiful food that Strega Nona sends everyone else in the village as her gift. When he finds the lucky fava bean in the Epiphany cake, he asks for a gift of a new blanket and a dish of delicious food that he gives to the goat as a truce. Infused with warm Italian flavor and decorated with dePaola's signature charming illustrations, this is a holiday selection that readers will savor.—Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

DePaola's latest holiday contribution describes the eight traditional feast days of the Christmas season in Calabria, home of the consummate cook, Strega Nona, and her ever-hungry sidekick, Big Anthony.

The foods, traditions and legend for each feast day are worked into the text as the villagers celebrate each event together. On the eve of the Feast of the Three Kings, Strega Nona follows tradition and cooks delicious dishes for each of her pets, but poor Big Anthony gets only a plate of plain pasta. He gets in trouble when he helps himself to the goat's turnips, and the goat retaliates by eating Anthony's blanket. When Big Anthony is chosen as the king of the Feast of Epiphany, he chooses a new blanket as his gift from Strega Nona and a big dish of turnips that he gives to the goat as a peace offering. Strega Nona's larger gift is sending a marvelous dream of magical food to each of the villagers, with walls turning to cheese and bedsheets into sheets of lasagna. (Readers will probably want to know more about those delectable dreams.)

The information conveyed about the feast days is interesting, but Strega Nona and Big Anthony aren't at their top form in this effort, with little of the rich magical humor they are known for. (author's note)(Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399256493
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/18/2011
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
547,805
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.

It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.

He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.

Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.

Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.

- He has been published for over 30 years.
- Over 5 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
- His books have been published in over 15 different countries.
- He receives nearly 100,000 fan letters each year.

Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition forhis books in the children's book world, including:

- Caldecott Honor Award from American Library Association
- Newbery Honor Award from American Library Association
- Smithson Medal from Smithsonian Institution
- USA nominee in illustration for Hans Christian Andersen Medal
- Regina Medal from Catholic Library Association

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.

It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.

He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.

Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.

Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.

- He has been published for over 30 years.
- Over 5 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
- His books have been published in over 15 different countries.
- He receives nearly 100,000 fan letters each year.

Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition forhis books in the children's book world, including:

- Caldecott Honor Award from American Library Association
- Newbery Honor Award from American Library Association
- Smithson Medal from Smithsonian Institution
- USA nominee in illustration for Hans Christian Andersen Medal
- Regina Medal from Catholic Library Association

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Connecticut and New Hampshire
Date of Birth:
September 15, 1935
Place of Birth:
Meriden, CT
Website:
http://www.tomie.com/main.html

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