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Strega Nona

(Strega Nona #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  76,408 ratings  ·  1,043 reviews
When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Everest Publishing (first published January 1st 1975)
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  76,408 ratings  ·  1,043 reviews

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Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola is the first book in a classic children's literature series from the 1970s and 1980s. It was eventually made into a cartoon and several other children's merchandise, all fun and educational toys as kids grew up. I enjoyed the premise of the books but only read the first one, and maybe the second or third (can't remember!).

Strega Nona means "Grandma Witch," and she helps the townspeople with all their problems through her magical pasta pot. One day, she has
“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
Janessa B
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found this book in my house this weekend and decided to read it. It isn't a super short book, but it isn't very long either. The story line seems like it is for little kids, but not awful overall. I don't recommend it to older kids because it wasn't very challenging.
Overall, not a bad book, but not challenging enough for my lexile or reading level.
Boze Herrington
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I waited so long to read this book and now I'm hungry and fellas, you've gotta read it.
Caldecott Honor: 1976
Strega Nona is a really fun book to read to kids. I loved reading this fairy tale to my three and seven year old. It’s funny, and has a solid life lesson about obeying and listening to instructions for good reasons! I’m curious. How does everyone else sing Strega Nona’s song to the magic pot? 😋
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 they're learning a lesson. "Don't touch stuff that I specifically said 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.
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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!
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
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
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.
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
Strega Nona has some funny moments (such as when the distraught mayor cries out, "We must protect our town from the pasta"). The illustrations by the very capable Tomie dePaola are gorgeous. I have had fun with this book for years, and it always brings back good memories.
Amy Forrester
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Valentin Eni
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Parcă am mai auzit de o poveste asemănătoare. Probabil Мишкина каша de Nikolay Nosov, autorul lui Habarnam (Neştiilă) Приключения Незнайки. Dar se pare că în cărţile fraţilor Grimm putem găsi o poveste asemănătoare Der süße Brei (The Sweet Porridge)

Iar Strega Nona mi se pare a fi Sfânta Vinere sau Duminică din folclorul românesc
Mary Lou
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
What makes a children's book great? I believe it teaches eternal lessons. And there are at least a couple of lessons to be learned in Strega Nona. Set in an old Italian village with its own Grandma Witch, a young boy learns a lesson not only about obedience, but about feeling he has to impress others. In disobeying is employer, Strega Nona, he creates a crisis for her home, for himself, and for the village. What he thought would be praise and awe from the villagers who had only made fun of him, ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Strega Nona is one of my favorites, and it always makes me hungry for pasta. Just not that much pasta.
Suzanne Moore
Strega Nona is the town “witch” but not in a bad way. She can cure headaches, mix love potions, and remove warts. She stays so busy helping the townspeople that she decides to hire an extra hand. Big Anthony takes the job doing chores for her, and she warns him not to touch her cooking pot. When Anthony sees her chanting over the pot, and then sees the pot fill with pasta, he realizes it must be magic. He notices that she has to tell the pot to stop cooking but doesn’t see her blow the pot three ...more
Addison  Moore
This book is considered banned because the main character was a "spell-casting witchcraft-loving devil woman". This book was both challenged and banned from libraries because of the belief that it displayed witchcraft and supernatural content. The problem wasn't having magic in the book, but how the magic was presented. This is not the only story that has been banned for this reason, books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings as well. I don't see this book as being controversial because she i ...more
It is Banned Books Week, and I am reading Challenged/Banned books. This is the sixth book for this week.

This book was banned/challenged due it having a witch, magic, supernatural elements.

Strega Nona is a witch in a tiny town, she helps out everyone with all sorts of problems. Warts? She can fix it. Illness? Sure.
She needs help, and so she hires a help. Of course there is always a catch, just like in many other magical/witch books, he must do all sorts of things, BUT he can't touch the pasta po
Sarah McHugh
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
This Tomie dePaola original folklore tale is a tried and true classic. In this story the title character, Strega Nona or “grandma witch” is a bit of a mystery to the townspeople. When she hires Big Anthony to come and help her accomplish chores a bit of chaos follows. Big Anthony discovers that Strega Nona has a magic pot that makes pasta. Strega Nona explicitly tells Big Anthony to never touch the pot. However one day when Strega Nona leaves the house Big Anthony takes the opportunity to share ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott-winner
Title: Strega Nona
Title: Tomis dePaola
Genre: Traditional Literature

Plot Summary: This folktale is about a boy named Anthony who comes to work for Strega Nona, who is getting too old to do physical chores around her house. She needs him to take care of these things for her so she can visit the town's people, giving them the help they need with various life problems. Nona tells him outright to not go near her pasta pot. When she leaves the town, what does he do...? He casts the spell on the pot to
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Let me start out by saying that I love Tomie dePaola's children's books. The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush were huge in my house growing up, and I remember reading his book about popcorn with my grandmother as a child. Somehow though, I have absolutely no recollection of Strega Nona, or any of the sequels about her. I'm fairly certain it was read to me at some point, possibly even multiple times, but the title and cover both left my mind feeling blank about the ...more
Jaeleen Parisi
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Strega Nona written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola is a fun and insightful children's literature folktale about following directions. What I love most about this book, is stories nature to be relate-able. The story is unrealistic, but the idea of not listening to someone and then needing their help to solve the problem is an aspect of life must individuals endure. Additionally, I think this is a great story to tell to children because the lesson at the core is to listen to elders, which is an ...more
Laura Watson
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jessica Sheaffer
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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
Renee Burr
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this story because it reminds me of my grandma and her delicious cooking. It is the story of Strega Nona, a little granny in Italy, who hires Big Anthony to be her servant. She tells him not to touch the magic pasta pot, but of course he does. I love the part were the pasta is about to take over the town! As with any good folktale, there is a happy ending and Big Anthony (and the reader) learn an important lesson about listening to your elders!
With some discussion this story could lead to
A wonderful retelling that strongly implies to its Italian background with the inclusion of cultural hints and Italian words in the air bubbles. This is truly a Tomie dePaolo work.

It is interesting to read this story and know that there are others from around the world that have a very similar plot. Instead of being pasta it may be anything from porridge or salt that may be out of control since of the folly of man.

The font is on the smallish side so I would recommend the book to slightly olde
Nicole Entwistle
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is an amazing story of a lady that everyone thinks is a witch. This woman in the story helps this boy out and the boy finds out she has a magic pot. He tells everyone about the magic pot and now everyone wants pasta from the pot. Strega Nona tells the boy not to touch her pot because she had to go out of town on vacation. He ends up touching the pot and he ends up having to clean up his mess. This book shows a great lesson in the story about touching stuff that does not belong to you. ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. children's picture book - published before 1993ish making pasta and it gets waaay out of control [s] 5 388 Jan 04, 2019 05:27PM  
Strega Nona 1 4 Feb 17, 2017 03:07PM  
Strega Nona Book Review 1 2 Feb 17, 2017 03:03PM  
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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.

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
“In a town in Calabria, a long time ago, there lived an old lady everyone called Strega Nona, which meant "Grandma Witch".” 4 likes
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