Strega Nona goes up to the counter and orders a caffé latte. She downs the drink in a few gulps and returns to the counter dejectedly.
“I want my money back,” she says.
“Was the drink bad?” asks the barista.
“No,” she says, smiling sadly, “It’s just that I was under the impression that this would be a bottomless cup of coffee.”
bowlswithpoles says, “[Tomie de Paola’s] books were one of the first ones I learned how to read in school. When I started helping younger ones to read, Strega Nona (and the rest of the series) were ones I shared. I also love pasta!”
Anon says, “I always loved that old lady as a kid!”
Strega Nona is a very magical story that brings readers into a fantasy world. While this world may seem hard for some people to imagine, it relies more on pictures to show details rather than the text. Text is kept to a maximum of three or four sentences (though usually just one or two) while pictures take up no less than half of the page. Author and illustrator, Tomie de Paola chose to play with rhythm and rhymes in the text by creating a fun song for the magic pasta pot. This also helps to add to the magical feel of the book, specifically in regards to the pasta pot. Despite the story’s fantasy world, de Paola still managed to make Big Anthony a relatable character. Even though Big Anthony is not perfect children will relate and connect to him because many children will at one point of their lives let their excitement or curiosity take over them and cause them to perhaps miss an important message, just like how Big Anthony’s excitement and curiosity caused him to play with the magic pasta pot and miss the crucial last step to kiss the pasta pot in order to turn it off.
The costume was an awkwardly-shaped fat suit, a dress, a petticoat I forgot to put on, an apron, giant yellow shoes, a skull cap and a bonnet to cover the hair, and nose and chin pieces with face paint stuff. And I needed two people to help dress me, mostly because I couldn’t zip/tie myself in (and neither could they, so someone had to use the tights that came with the whole thing that I refused to wear to tuck into the back to cover my staff shirt). The face pieces were also a little moldy and very difficult to attach, so every time I laughed (which was pretty constant throughout) I was in danger of losing my chin.
And of course everyone in the store came up front to watch me, and then later on they all shared their pictures. So it was delightful. But despite the half hour preparation time (and the half hour of trying to scrub my face clean), I only had to wear it for like 10 minutes. The girl who has to wear it at the event on Saturday is going to be stuck for 4 hours.
Today, Paul, tiny Strega Nona and I ran some errands. After lunch, we left the car parked in front of the restaurant and walked our way to Errand Two. On the way back to the car after Errand Two, the wee witch was walking between us, each hand wrapped around one of our fingers. We got back to the restaurant and an older woman – in her 70s, I’d guess – waved at tiny Strega Nona, who promptly halted her progress in order to stare up at the woman, a tentative smile on her face.
The woman crouched down to wave again, hoping to elicit a smile. The wee witch dropped both of our hands…and ran straight into the woman’s arms. She hugged the woman tightly, something she has only ever done for me or Paul. The woman was so startled, and then she laughed and stood up with our girl wrapped in her arms and held her close. Tiny Strega Nona had the biggest, happiest grin on her face.
The woman turned to me. “Oh, how wonderful! What’s her name?” I told her (the name that we call her), and she looked shocked, and then borderline teary, and also incredibly happy. “That was my mother’s name,” she said.