Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Children's Author of the Week: Tomie dePaola

The other day, I suggested to Ben that we have a big bowl of spaghetti for dinner.  He responded, "like Strega Nona!" (who he had apparently been introduced to at school).  Well, I happened to have a copy of Strega Nona on hand for us to read together, and the next day, we went to the library and checked out enough books for a Strega Nona marathon.

I loved Strega Nona when I was a little kid - well, I loved spaghetti - and a book about a pot that made so much spaghetti it took over the town square and people had to just eat and eat and eat in order to save Strega Nona's house?  Well, it was hilarious to me back then.  And, it sounded delicious.  I had no idea that in the nearly thirty-five years since I first read Strega Nona, author Tomie dePaola has been hard at work creating a whole series of books about the wonderful witch and her bumbling helper Big Anthony.  Kids these days are so lucky!  And Ben and me (well, maybe especially me) have enjoyed making our way through these over the past couple weeks.  In addition to the original Strega Nona published in 1975, dePaola's series includes the following:
  • Big Anthony and the Magic Ring (1979)
  • Strega Nona's Magic Lessons (1982)
  • Merry Christmas, Strega Nona (1986)
  • Strega Nona Meets Her Match (1993)
  • Strega Nona: Her Story (1996)
  • Big Anthony, His Story (1998)
  • Strega Nona Takes a Vacation (2000)
  • Brava, Strega Nona! A Heartwarming Pop-Up Book (2008)
  • Strega Nona's Harvest (2009)
  • Strega Nona's Gift (2011)
  • Strega Nona Does it Again (2013)
I find dePaola's illustrations so warm and inviting - kind of like a trip to Italy!  I think the magic is fun for kids - and Ben enjoys trying to figure out why Big Anthony's spells aren't quite working out the way they are supposed to.  I love tying food and books together (more on this in future posts), so this is an easy one -  boil up a big pot of pasta and burrow in for a delicious night of reading!

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