Thursday, November 15, 2007

Strega Nona

Author: Tomie DePaola

First line: In a town in Calabria, a long time ago, there lived an old lady everyone called Strega Nona, which meant "Grandma Witch."

Why you should read this book: The 1975 Caldecott winner, this enticing tale is a riff off the Sorcerer's Apprentic theme, in which the kind Strega Nona, who uses her magic to cure warts and find husbands, hires a new assistant: Big Anthony, who doesn't listen. When Big Anthony discovers the secret of Strega Nona's magic pasta pot, he can't wait to use it to elevate his own status, but his plan backfires, covering the village in an edible avalanche. As always, DePaola's illustrations are sensational, with lovely details like tiled roofs, authentic costumes, and expressive faces, and the story is an enduring one.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You see the scaly hand of Satan in the first line.

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