Nov 11 2009

Strega Nona’s Harvest, Tomie dePaola, 2009, G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Strega Nona’s Harvest

Book Review by Lisa Garner

Momma Mia! Mange on Caldecott Award-winning author-illustrator Tomie dePaola’s delightful new book Strega Nona’s Harvest!

In this humorous tale, Strega Nona attempts to teach her blundering helper, Big Anthony, about gardening, order, and following directions. Based upon her meticulous records, systematic placement of previously unused seeds, perfectly straight rows, and a little magic, Strega Nona plants her garden under the light of a full moon and seals the deal with a song and a kiss. Scoffing at Bambolona’s rules and bossiness, Big Anthony thinks he can use her secrets to yield an equally bountiful harvest. However, his haphazard placement of seeds, extra kisses, and over watering turn his garden into an unruly jungle with a surplus of oversized vegetables which he surreptitiously places outside of Strega Nona’s doorstep.

After Strega Nona’s cottage is about to burst with beans, pumpkins, eggplants, and zucchinis, she decides to share her bounty with the villagers whose harvest was hampered by uncharacteristically heavy rainfall. Just as Strega Nona settles back into her roomy cottage for the evening, Big Anthony makes another unsuspected delivery.

DePaola’s format is classic Strega Nona full of witty lines, vivid comic strip style illustrations, and Italian expressions that are as warm and welcoming as the story’s quaint Italian village. It’s theme of generosity and sharing would be a great addition to any character education unit or simply as a wonderful class read aloud.

Bellissimo!

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Posted in: Teacher - Book Reviews