Tomie DePaola is one of the most popular children's book authors and illustrators of our time. He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including Caldecott Honor Book Strega Nona.
Strega Nona – grandma witch- is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. She has a magic ever full pasta pot which she leaves in the care of Big Anthony, a servant whom Nona has hired to help with her house and garden. He spies on Strega Nona and sees her using her magic pasta pot.
When Strega Nona is away Big Anthony tries to use the pasta pot without Strega Nona's permission. In the end Big Anthony ends up making a big mess!The story of Strega Nona is actually loosely based on an old, Italian folklore, “The Porridge Pot” only DePaola changed Porridge to Pasta and a story was born. The entire manuscript was scribbled on yellow legal pad with some provisions made to the original. Big Anthony was originally a GIRL named Concetta. DePaola felt “that the world did not need one more not-too-bright servant girl in folklore”, so he crossed out "Concetta" and turned the character into "Big Anthony, who did not pay attention."
Picture from Tomie's Website
I have seen a ton of interviews and learned his mother read to him when he was just a wee little one, which later inspired him to be an artist and story teller. The Boog and I read every night and even though it feels like I have read the same story 400 times, her passion for our little story times drives me to make the little silly voices and crazy facial expressions she loves so much. I think Tomie’s mom was on to something!
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