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Strega Nona
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Strega Nona (Strega Nona #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  53,111 ratings  ·  669 reviews
When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works in this classic Caldecott Honor book from Tomie dePaola.

Strega Nona—"Grandma Witch"—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is suppose
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 3rd 1979 by Aladdin (first published January 1st 1975)
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“Strega Nona” created in 1975 by Tomie dePaola, was the author’s first book about the kind and elderly “grandma witch.” This book has since been a popular favorite among children and has won the Caldecott Honor Book Award for its excellence in writing and in its drawing. Strega Nona is sure to be a hit with both children and adults.

Tomie dePaola does an awesome job at creating a story that is humorous and exciting at the same time. Big Anthony humorously plays the role of a tragic hero as he at
Lisa Vegan
Listen, pay attention, and follow instructions, or there may be negative consequences; in this case, pasta might take over the world. I have enjoyed this author/illustrator’s other books and his illustrations work so well in this story.

I love that this tale isn’t scary, doesn’t have any villains, and that there is a positive message. The story really is very amusing, and it’s fun to read aloud.

I never knew a book that makes pasta look both so appealing and unappealing.

I love the magic pot! My k
What's not to love about this book? It's a great story.

My acquitance with this book occured, not when I was at the targeted age, but when my brother was. My brother loved spagetti as a young child (he still loves it). He had so many books that dealt with spagetti, including a real annoying one More Spaghetti, I Say!. He had to be read these books constantly. Honestly, I can still recite parts of them by heart. The words are burnt into what passes for my brain.

There was one huge but.

When you read
A book that didn't hold my children's attention as well as I would have liked. It's a Caldecott award winner and deserving of it, the pictures detailed and fun, but for the most part, I think maybe it used too many of the same color scheme, because many of the pages looked similar. My kids became bored and I had to draw them back into the story. I thought it was cute and enjoyed it, but I might have to wait until my kids are a little older.
Amy Forrester
Long ago in Calabria in a small town lived a woman everyone called Strega Nona, “Grandma Witch.” Although the townspeople were wary of her, they still came to see her for potions and cures because they worked every time. But Strega Nona was growing old and she needed some help around the house, so she hired Big Anthony, who didn’t pay attention. She gave him a list of chores and finished with the warning to never touch the pasta pot. One evening when Big Anthony was milking the goats he heard St ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This story has the feel of an old fable - the kind of story brought over by your grandparents when they immigrated - but it is in fact made up by the author, Tomie dePaola, and first published in 1975. It reads like a fairy-tale, of the classical kind, and has strong moral messages - ones about how you reap what you sow, and going behind someone's back, and meddling in what you don't understand, and being greedy, and so on.

Part of what gives it that old-world (read: old-Europe) feel are the won
Jun 29, 2008 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading to young children
This book is such a classic. We've read this one several times and it never gets old. It has a fun story and cartoonish illustrations that depict an older time - we just love Tomie dePaola's books!
How have I never read this book before today? It's so cute and funny and everything a children's book should be. It teaches a lesson without the kid knowing their learning a lesson. Don't touch stuff that I specifically say not to touch. I will find out and you will be punished. And I hope I wasn't the only one that thought the ending was going to be dark. I just had a feeling that I was going to see Big Anthony explode from eating all that pasta on the last page.
Jessica Sheaffer
Strega Nona, won the Caldecott Honor in 1976 and was voted one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all times in 2012 by a School Library Journal poll. The reason for this folktale’s lasting legacy is that although it is set in Italy a long time ago, the moral lessons and character traits are still relevant in today’s world. The story is about a young man (Big Anthony) in an Italian village that seeks employment from the local witch, Strega Nona. Strega Nona is wise and Big Anthony is foolish. Pred ...more
D.L. Williams
Cute tale about an old world Italian witch. she helps people daily and gives a job to a young man. When she goes away, he betrays her, but Strega Nona takes it in stride and helps save the town in the end. Love the illustrations.
This book reminded me alot of the stories that I used to hear growing up. The idea of the feared, misunderstood, but respected humble woman who could do magical things for people seems to be common in a lot of European tales. I find the lessons in these stories to be very morally tied. In this story the lesson is not to be sneaky and curious, and to listen to your elders when they tell you not to do something. It also shows the (rather comical) consequences for not following directions. I liked ...more
I loved this book, where was it when I was a little girl. Fortunately, I'm not too old at heart to enjoy a beautifully designed and magically written story. :)
This book is about a boy named Anthony who helps out a nice old lady named Strega Nona. One day he notices her saying a magical spell into a pot that magically produces noodles. Unfortunately, he doesn't notice that she blows three kisses into the pot to stop the production of noodles. When Strega Nona leaves town and leaves Anthony in charge. He makes the noodles using magic but can't stop them, so the whole town overflows with noodles. Then Strega Nona must come back to save the day. I liked t ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
It's been a while since I've read this for a preschool storytime, but I can still remember the rhyme Strega Nona recites to her magic pasta pot:

"Bubble, bubble, pasta pot.
Boil me some pasta, nice and hot.
I'm hungry and it's time to sup.
Boil enough pasta to fill me up!"

But of course, it takes more than just knowing the words to the rhyme to make the magic pasta pot behave. It takes three blown kisses, too! Big Anthony doesn't know that, though, and almost drowns the town in pasta while Strega N
Laura Watson
Summarize the book:
This is a book about Strega Nona who is a witch who helps people with their problems. She hires Big Anthony to live at her home and do many chores for her to keep up her house and garden. He sees her using a magic pot that makes its own pasta. When Strega Nona leaves he tells everyone to come and eat from the pot. Everyone eats a lot of pasta and then Big Anthony realizes that he cannot stop the magic pot from making pasta and it starts to take over the village and the people
Kristen Sawyer
Summarize the book:
Strega Nona has a magic pot that cooks pasta but, she is the only one who knows the magic words to make it stop. One day, while Strega Nona is visiting a friend, Big Anthony decides to show the towns people how the pot works. Big Anthony does not know the magic words to make the pot stop and pretty soon the whole town is filled with pasta. Strega Nona arrives back from her visit, says the magic words and the pot stops.

Identify the characteristics from the text that support th
Matti Davis
Title: Strega Nona
Author: Tomie dePaola
Genre: European Folktale
Theme(s): Take care of your neighbor, Listening to your elders
Opening line/sentence: In a town in Calabria, a long time ago, there lived an old lady called Strega Nona, which meant “Grandma Witch.”
Brief Book Summary: Strega Nona is “Grandma Witch” in her town. She helps people with her magic and potions that come out of her pasta pot. One day a character named Big Anthony is asked to look over her house and he creates a mess becaus
Bridgette Hossbach
Book: Strega Nona
Author/illustrator: Tomie dePaula
Pages: 32

Stega Nona, meaning "Grandma Witch", has a magic cooking pot that makes pasta. With her age she required help with chores around the house. Anthony obliges to be her house boy in exchange for 3 coins, food, and a bed. She tells him that he cannot touch her magic cooking pot. However, when he discovers her singing to the magic pot and realizes how it makes unlimited food he soon wanted it. The next time she left the house Anthony set out
Maryclaire Gray
Strega Nona is a comical and fun story about a magical old woman who lives at the top of a town. Everyone in the town went to Strega Nona for advice or for her magical abilities to heal headaches or find a woman a husband. One day Big Anthony watches as Strega Nona chats a magical spell to make pasta appear in her pot and then another spell to make it stop. Big Anthony was so excited he had seen this magic and wanted to do it for himself. The only problem was that Big Anthony did not see the fin ...more
This story reads (and is illustrated) like a traditional folk tale, but is an "original tale written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola," which I did not know prior to checking this book out. I assumed Strega Nona and Baba Yaga came from the same culture, and perhaps that Strega Nona was Baba Yaga's good counterpart? But this is not so; Strega Nona ("Grandma-Witch") is known throughout the town for having a magic touch and curing the various ailments of the town, and even the religious folk of the ...more
Julia Whalen
Strega Nona is a grandma witch with a magic touch living on the outskirts of a small Spanish town, and people come to see her for cures for warts and headaches, and potions for finding a husband. As Strega Nona grows older, she seeks someone to help keep her house and garden, and hires Big Anthony for the job. She gives him jobs to do and instructs him not to ever touch her spaghetti pot, and in return gives him 2 coins a week, a place to stay, and food to eat. Time passes, and one day Big Antho ...more
Strega Nona means "Grandma Witch." In a small town in Italy, Strega Nona is the person everyone goes to, to fix headaches, find husbands and get rid of warts. Strega Nona hires Big Anthony to help out around the house, and her only rule is for him to not touch her pasta pot. One day Big Anthony sees Strega Nona sing a song to her pasta pot and watches as the pot cooks pasta all by itself. When the pot is full, Strega Nona sings another song and blows 3 kisses. Unfortunately for Big Anthony, he m ...more
Lindsay Fischer
Strega Nona is a tale about the importance of rules. Strega Nona is an old witch of a village that helps her people, even the priest! As she grew older she needed a helper to do chores that she could no longer do around her house. She hired Big Anthony, a young man. She gave him a list of chores, food and a bed and only one rule: don't touch her magic pasta pot. When Strega Nona leaves for a quick vacation, Big Anthony disobeys Strega Nona and touches the pasta pot. Everything goes horribly wro ...more
Mary Lauren
Strega Nona, Italian for Grandmother Witch, lives in a small town in Italy. She can cure any illness, but hired Big Anthony because she is growing old and needs some help around the house. She tells him exactly what chores he needs to do and specifically tells him not to touch her pasta pot in exchange for food and a bed. One night, Big Anthony happens across Strega Nona chanting over her pasta pot. Pasta magically appears and she calls Big Anthony in for super. Unfortunately, Big Anthony does n ...more
Strega Nona was one of my favorite picture books as a kid, and I thought of it at the last minute for my food-themed storytime. I like to have little kid options (in this case, Growing Vegetable Soup and Eating the Alphabet) and big kid options to go with the books that have more of a universal appeal. Unlike other works from the 1970s, I really feel like Tomie dePaola's illustrations have stood the test of time. When I read a popular or classic children's book (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, If Y ...more
Megan Alexander
Title: Strega Nona
Author: Tomie dePaola
Illustrator: Tomie dePaola
Date of Publication: 1975
Genre: Fiction
Awards: Caldecott Medal
In a town in Calabria lived a woman called Strega Nona, which means Grandma Witch. She was a sweet old lady who would help all the towns’ people of their troubles such as headaches, finding a husband, and getting rid of warts. Strega Nona was getting old and needed help tending to her garden. She took in Big Anthony and gave him a place to stay in exchange for hi
Sara Graffis
I have always loved this book for two reasons- the story is wonderful and the illustrations are amazing. First, the story is a very well written folk tale about Strega Nona, which means Grandma Witch. She has a magic pot that makes pasta when she sings a special song. And to get it to stop making the pasta, she has to sing another song and then blow it 3 kisses. Her helper, Big Anthony, does not see her blow the pot 3 kisses to get it to stop making the pasta and when she leaves town, Big Anthon ...more
Lizeth Velazquez
dePaola, Tommie. Strega Nona (1975). Strega Nona "Grandma Witch" is known to have special magic abilities in the town of Calabria. Many of the townspeople who are dressed and set up in medieval era secretly see her for her magic potions. Strega Nona posts an ad to hire help for the house, as she is growing old and tired. Who responds? Big Anthony, who one day happens upon Strega Nona as she uses a magic pasta pot. Despite being warned, Anthony uses the magic pasta pot while Strega Nona is away. ...more
Rachel Keller

I have the most fond memories of read this book as a child! I actually remember read many of Tomie dePaola's books, but this one was always a favorite of mine. As I reread it as an adult, it still captivated and engaged me. The illustrations really resonated with me, bringing me back to my childhood, but also giving me vivid images of the town the story takes place in. I am so drawn in by Big Anthony and his child-like ways. His curiosity really takes the reader on a ride, creating butterflies i
Anna Summers
Strega Nona is the classic folktale retold by Tomie dePaola. In this tale, Strega Nona tells Big Anthony not to touch her magic pasta pot. While Strega Nona is away, Big Anthony uses the pasta pot. Not knowing the magic, the pot makes so much pasta that it starts causing trouble in the town. Finally, Strega Nona stops the pot from making pasta. She gives Big Anthony a natural consequence of eating all of the pasta that he made. This has always been one of my favorite books. It is a timeless stor ...more
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Strega nona 7 53 Jun 30, 2012 06:22PM  
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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)
  • Big Anthony and the Magic Ring
  • Strega Nona's Magic Lessons
  • Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
  • Strega Nona Meets Her Match
  • Strega Nona, Her Story
  • Big Anthony: His Story
  • Strega Nona Takes a Vacation
  • Strega Nona's Harvest
  • Strega Nona's Gift
  • Strega Nona Does It Again

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“In a town in Calabria, a long time ago, there lived an old lady everyone called Strega Nona, which meant "Grandma Witch".” 1 likes
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