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Big Anthony: His Story (Strega Nona #7)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  453 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Fans of Tomie dePaola’s kindly Strega Nona will love this charming look at the early days of her good-hearted but clumsy helper Big Anthony. From the day he is born, Big Anthony never pays attention. As a boy, he leaves the gates of the farm open and all the animals escape. As a young man off to make his fortune in the world, he accidentally “fixes” the leaning Tower of Pi ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published June 25th 2001 by Puffin Books (first published 1998)
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Strega Nona by Tomie dePaolaBreakaway by Bryan  MurphyThe Thief Lord by Cornelia FunkeAsterix the Gladiator by René GoscinnyPaul & Kiki's Guide to Vacationing in Italy by Paul  Stuart
Italy Italy
128th out of 214 books — 58 voters
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussShapes Las Formas by Othen Donald Dale CummingsA Pet Banana by Othen Donald Dale CummingsOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. SeussMy First Travel Angelic Airline Adventures by Anna Othitis
Books for five-year-olds
211th out of 368 books — 178 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 718)
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Jul 11, 2016 Andrea added it
Shelves: author-study
Readers are entertained to learn of the history of Big Anthony, the protagonist in the prequel, "Strega Nona." We discover that from the day of his baptism that Big Anthony is clumsy and inattentive. Throughout the book, we witness how Big Anthony humorously misconstrues directions given to him, and the "trouble" he gets himself into that causes people to push him away, finding himself in principal Italian cities. The theme of perseverance is inherent throughout the book, characterizing Big Anth ...more
May 27, 2009 Laura rated it liked it
I felt sorry for Big Anthony's family, they didn't seem to know what to make of him, or how he could become useful. But I did see their dilemma, because he is awfully scatterbrained and doesn't pay attention to everything like he should. Still, I enjoyed seeing where Big Anthony went and I would probably recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Caroline Freeman
Loved this book. Could be used for multicultural, students could locate all the places mentioned on the map and could discuss differences in culture. Also a great lesson about paying attention and keep trying. Also, need to pay attention to the pictures they tell some of the story. And it goes on with a fav. of mine.... Strega Nona. I very much enjoyed this book!
~Austen Nerd~
Jun 24, 2016 ~Austen Nerd~ rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
My kids all had such a great laugh with this book. Although, this book is super funny we could not help but feel sorry for Anthony. He is super scatter-brained and cannot seem to listen or focus on anything. I felt sorry that his family basically told him to go because they could not stand him constantly messing up.

I realize this is a children's book and meant to be funny, so I gave it 3 stars because we did like it. Tomie dePaola is one of our favorite children's book authors, this book is my
Jan 10, 2010 Josiah rated it it was ok
This is a good prequel story, featuring the character who is best known as Strega Nona's assistant, Big Anthony.

Big Anthony: His Story provides the background information on how Strega Nona and her absent-minded helper first found each other, from Anthony's perspective. Going through life as a person who keeps a loose hold on the commands that others give you is never easy, as Big Anthony finds out after being hired and dismissed by many different bosses from a wide variety of professional fiel
Mariah Olson
Big Anthony is a terrific book for getting children to interact with the story and interpret what the pictures mean. The pictures themselves tell half the story so as you're reading you can stop before turning the page and ask the children what they see happening in the pictures and what they think might happen next! This book also takes place in Italy which gives them a perspective of a different country and incorporates many simple Italian words into their language that children will probably ...more
Feb 20, 2016 Tirzah rated it really liked it
Shelves: elementary-class
Where have I been?! I only discovered this book's existence 2 weeks ago when I read it as a bedtime story. It is hilarious and has cute illustrations, but not quite as good as Strega Nona (hard to beat that!). It is still a great book to add to the classroom collection. Now I have to check out the other Strega Nona books that are floating out there. :)

Great for: PreK-2nd Grade

Teaches: prediction using illustration clues, Italian culture

Bonnie Jean
Apr 08, 2015 Bonnie Jean rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The back story to Big Anthony from Strega Nona. It was okay, but not awesome. I simultaneously felt bad for Big Anthony (who really isn't trying to cause problems- he just gets very easily distracted and thus doesn't always hear the entirety of what he is told) and frustrated with his inability to listen.
Jan 12, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: pic-books
For anyone who likes the Strega Nona series, this book is one piece of the bigger story. I like the having a character who makes mistakes, so the kids can come up with ideas to help Anthony be more successful doing the things he wants to do. (And doesn't every Italian family have someone named Anthony? We have several.)
Apr 01, 2014 Patricia rated it liked it
Oh, Big Anthony. Since he was a baby he has been big, strong, peaceful, curious, clumsy, and easily distracted. He doesn't mean for things to go wrong...

This is the story of his life before he met Strega Nona. If you're a fan of Strega Nona, then you must read this book.
Feb 25, 2015 Sam rated it liked it
Personal Reaction: I remember reading the Big Anthony books when I was younger and I loved the pictures. That is still true, and I enjoyed reading about Anthony's adventures.

Although the book would be used for personal reading or to read for fun in a classroom, it is set in Italy so there are some Italian words in the book. It could be used to point out other cultures and languages. For classes with Italian students, it could be presented to promote inclusion.
Nov 26, 2011 Shannon rated it it was ok
Ugh. I've never had much patience for dense characters. Like Amelia Bedelia. GET WITH THE PROGRAM, I want to admonish these characters. The only one I really like is The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. So. Yes, this is a good companion book to Strega Nona. Yes, Nonno Emilio is a funny side character.

This book really makes me think of Mrs. Burn (, who taught me that students sometimes only hear the tail end of what we tell them. So this exchange rem
Aug 22, 2014 Mckinley rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture
Big Anthojny can't find a place to be. A bit sad, glad he eventually found Strega Nona. Not one of my favorites in this series.
Mar 28, 2014 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Great to use for teaching about characters, cause and effect, etc. My class loves Big Anthony!
Yossi Gremillion
I LOVE the Strega Nonna books, but this book's ending was rather abrupt.
Aug 28, 2014 Jenn rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Big Anthony before the pasta pot.

Tomie dePaola is my all time favorite children's author.
Mar 09, 2013 Sassy rated it liked it
Big Anthony is a Klutz, from the time he is born. This book is a cute fictional biography of one of dePaola's well-loved characters from the Strega Nona books. It tells his life from the time her is born up until he meets Strega Nona.

It's a cute, funny, gently paced, how-it-happened tale.

Who I'd recommend it to: kids who like fairy tales, whant Big Anthony's back story, lovers of dePaola and Strega Nona
Chris K Polizzi
.50 goodwill
Dec 19, 2013 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, humor, italy, 2013
We enjoy reading Tomie dePaola's books and this book in the Strega Nona series does not disappoint.

This story is a little different, with a focus on Big Anthony's story. The narrative is entertaining and the illustrations are just as good as we've come to expect from Tomie dePaola. We enjoyed reading this book together.
Benjamin Elliott
May 02, 2016 Benjamin Elliott rated it liked it
Big Anthony's back story is interesting, but it's simply the same thing over and over. I enjoyed it and the different situations and illustrations were fun, but Big Anthony remains a one-dimensional character here, maybe even more so than the other books, and that's too bad.
Apr 11, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with children and husbands
Shelves: favorites, children-s
I love all books Tomie dePaola. What fun stories and beautiful illustrations. This is a wonderful book and descriptions of the males in our household. Good intentions without attention causes much grief. I think we will have to buy our own copy and make sure to read and teach from it regularly! I love the Italian phrases included and the places visited. This household loves dePaola books!
Oct 05, 2013 Christy rated it really liked it
Fans of Tomie dePaola’s kindly Strega Nona will love this charming look at the early days of her good-hearted but clumsy helper Big Anthony. From the day he is born, Big Anthony never pays attention. As a boy, he leaves the gates of the farm open and all the animals escape. As a young man off to make his fortune in the world, he accidentally “fixes” the leaning Tower of Pizza
Dec 17, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Worth reading just for the final line. Not having read this before, I had not known how Strega Nona got her helper. Today, Big Anthony would be diagnosed as ADD, put on medication and expected to work at a desk job.
Feb 07, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I thought this book was very good and humorous. Both young and young at heart can enjoy the humor throughout...until the last page. I think what ultimate happens is hard to grasp, especially for the real young
Nov 04, 2009 Tricia rated it liked it
the twarogowski's, being a bit slow, had a lightbulb moment at the end of the book--which tells the story of Big Anthony before he met Strega Nona. Sad tale of a boy who fits in nowhere, until---
Apr 15, 2012 Samantha rated it liked it
A look into all Big Anthony's past. Full of plenty of misadventures that take him all across Italy before he lands in Calabria at Strega Nona's door. Funny and a great read aloud.
Feb 08, 2012 Anna added it
Shelves: childrens
Cute book telling the story of Anthony from Strega Nona, its a nice book to tell children that they each have their own place in the world, but it is a longer book, as well.
Leah Lemon
Apr 16, 2010 Leah Lemon added it
Shelves: 100-books
I just really love Tomie dePaola! This book mentions many foreign cities, it also make referrence to historical places. It also stresses the importance of paying attention.
Lizzy Lan
Aug 27, 2014 Lizzy Lan rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Big Anthony's back story about how he came to be Strega Nona's helper. He was a very clumsy young boy who had trouble listening since he was a small boy.
Heather Jo
Feb 01, 2016 Heather Jo rated it really liked it
Shelves: meggie-list
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.
He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.
Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.
More about Tomie dePaola...

Other Books in the Series

Strega Nona (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Strega Nona
  • Big Anthony and the Magic Ring
  • Strega Nona's Magic Lessons
  • Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
  • Strega Nona Meets Her Match
  • Strega Nona, Her Story
  • Strega Nona Takes a Vacation
  • Strega Nona's Harvest
  • Strega Nona's Gift
  • Strega Nona Does It Again

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