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Strega Nona, Her Story Hardcover – Picture Book, September 9, 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 86 ratings
Book 4 of 8: Strega Nona

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

DePaola executes a clever concept with his trademark charm and humor, offering a prequel to the series that began in 1976 with the Caldecott Honor book Strega Nona. Here the author/artist tells how his charismatic character came to become a strega (witch) with a "magic touch." The "biography" begins on a dark and stormy night in the hills of Calabria, where Grandma Concetta authoritatively oversees Nona's birth. Convinced that Nona will be a strega like her, the big-hearted woman teaches her granddaughter how to use herbs and spells to remedy villagers' aches and troubles. Nona, along with her overconfident friend Amelia (who sets herself up as Nona's rival in some of the other books), attends the Academy for Stregas, but soon concludes that its newfangled approach to magic is not for her, and returns home to practice her craft the old-fashioned way. Eventually she discovers Grandma Concetta's all-important secret ingredient: love. With their expressive faces and pertly exaggerated profiles (Strega Nona's signature hooked nose punctuates her face even as a newborn), the classic characters happily cavort in sunnily colored, droll illustrations. And dePaola does a splendid job of working this sparkling tale into the Strega Nona canon: on the final page, for example, the aging strega opens her door to the first respondent to her ad for a helper, whom fans will immediately recognize as the gangly and beloved Big Anthony. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3?In this prequel to the five other "Strega Nona" books, dePaola takes readers once again to the quaint hills of old Italy. The story begins with Nona's delivery at the hands of Grandma Concetta and closes as the aging Strega Nona answers her door to a knock-kneed apprentice-hopeful, Big Anthony. Along the way, readers learn how Concetta teaches Nona the mysteries of herbs and potions and, more importantly, her "secret ingredient." They see young Nona befriended by Amelia at convent school; later, they set off together for the modern Academy of Stregas. Proving herself clever and kind as well as skilled in magic, Nona eventually inherits Grandma Concetta's house and practice. All the familiar dePaola elements are here: the homey Italian phrases; appreciation of the old ways; and the characteristically charming, square-bordered scenes with their pink-tiled roofs, noble doves, and goofy goats. Tangerine is added to the usual pastel palette, giving the book a brighter look that stands out at story hour. Children will find many of the paintings hilarious. Though this book is a mere teaser on its own, it serves as the perfect final installment in any Strega Nona story fest, leaving children wanting still more of that "ingrediente segreto."?Karen MacDonald, East Falmouth Branch Library, MA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Lexile Measure : AD730L
  • Grade Level : Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
  • Hardcover : 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0399228187
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0399228186
  • Product Dimensions : 8.92 x 0.37 x 11.26 inches
  • Reading level : 4 - 8 years
  • Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; Illustrated Edition (September 9, 1996)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 86 ratings