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.
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!”
Here’s my rice cooker that was a wedding gift. I never really used it until college because it’s really annoying to make rice in it. However, it does make some really marvelous pasta. I was inspired yesterday to decorate it with art and words from Tomie dePaola’s wonderful book Strega Nona.
Spell 1 (left): Boil, boil, pasta pot boil me enough pasta to fill me up I’m hungry and it’s time to sup boil enough pasta to fill me up
Spell 2 (right): Enough, enough, pasta pot I have my pasta, nice and hot. So simmer down, my pot of clay, until I’m hungry another day.
I’ve been doing a book study on Strega Nona with my class in the past couple of weeks! We are learning how to do opinion writing, so I started by reading Strega Nona, stopping before the end, and having the kids write what they think should happen and why. Then we read the her story/his story books about Strega Nona and Big Anthony, and the class came up with describing words for both characters. The following day, I wrote the words on cards and taped them all over the room for the kids to find and then add to our character comparison chart.
Before reading Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons, I did a lesson on how opinions can and should change with new information, and asked the class to share if they thought Big Anthony should be allowed to stay with Strega Nona or not. Then I read Magic Lessons and we had a think-pair-share discussion about if their opinions had changed, and why. This was *awesome*…I was really proud of the way they were respectful of differing opinions, and several students were able to articulate that their first opinion had changed, and what caused them to rethink it.
Finally, as we are also learning about letter writing right now, I read Strega Nona Takes a Vacation, and had the kids make postcards, writing as Strega Nona (to Big Anthony, Bambalona, or both). These were fantastic! The kids really got into character, telling Big Anthony not to touch that pasta pot, promising gifts, describing activities…oh, I loved their ideas!