Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Tomie dePaola & illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-399-23562-0
Publisher: Putnam

There’s an inexhaustible sweetness to dePaola’s Strega Nona stories, and this is no exception (Night of Las Posedas, 1999, etc.). With their gentle, light-filled colors and strong, simple shapes, the figures of “Grandma Witch,” her cohorts Bambolona and Big Anthony, and the villagers of their Calabrian town fill the pages. This time, Strega Nona is so distracted by a dream of her own grandmother that she almost gives the wrong lotions and potions to the people who come to her with their aches and pains. She remembers her grandma Concetta’s little house by the seashore, and the dream-pictures show the two of them swimming, gathering shells, flowers, and mussels, and gazing out over the water. Strega Nona goes off on vacation to do all of those things again, leaving Big Anthony and Bambolona with careful admonitions. But when she sends gifts back to both, Bambolona wants Big Anthony’s candy, and switches the labels so he gets the bubble bath. Those who remember Big Anthony’s encounter with the pasta pot will figure out the result, as he floats through town with only his feet, hands, head, and rubber ducky visible in the cloud of bubbles. A little dove warns Strega Nona and she heads back to the rescue, noting that next time she goes on vacation she might as well take the two with her. Don’t miss “La gloria di Strega Nona” on the back cover, where Strega Nona does a Botticelli Venus with Big Anthony and Bambolona tossing flowers. (Picture book. 4-8)