Childrens Book Review of Strega Nona Does It Again by Tomie dePaola, Twelfth in the Series

by DerdriuMarriner

Matchmaking appears on the responsibilities section of a witch’s résumé. Its success depends upon psychology and/or remedies. Both will be needed in “Strega Nona Does It Again!”

A southern Italian village’s wise woman deals in:
• Common sense;
• Herbal remedies;
• Magic spells.

The proportion of extraordinary to ordinary measures depends upon the problem. As peninsular Italy’s busiest grandmotherly witch, Strega Nona draws as much as possible upon her astute understanding of human nature. She employs magic spells when intended results do not emerge from combined or separate inputs of:
• Hard work;
• Herbal lotions and potions;
• Human psychology.

Grandma Witch Nona indeed finds all of her non-magical skills and strategies super-stressed when a young beauty who suffers from unrequited love by a vain hunk shows up at her doorstep. She has her hands full since the lovesick girl is family in “Strega Nona Does It Again!”




Transplants from northern Italy may be undergoing culture shock as they make waves in settling in Calabria: first distracted Big Anthony and now spoiled Angelina, but Strega Nona relies on traditional wisdom for answers:

Limone borders scenic Lake Garda, from which the town's full name of Limone sul Garda derives.
Limone sul Garda, Brescia Province, Lombardy region, north central Italy
Limone sul Garda, Brescia Province, Lombardy region, north central Italy


Calabria’s hillside villagers consider their grandmotherly witch, Strega Nona, a solitary figure whose heavy work load demands the delegation of:

  • Garden and household chores to clumsy, inattentive, well-meaning Big Anthony;
  • Herbal remedies to agile, hard-working, observant Bambolona.

They deem Bambolona one of them, a familiar insider and former bakery assistant whose father, Signor Bambo, is in fact the village baker. They do not know Big Anthony’s familial background, which traces back to farmers way up north in peninsular Italy. But they embrace him as a welcome newcomer because of his hapless but permanent personal and professional links to Grandma Witch Nona. They love Strega Nona for herself and as granddaughter of previous village wise woman Grandma Concetta.


Strega Nona's practical wisdom guides her to solve personality conflicts through props, such as mirrors.

old makeup mirror
old makeup mirror


All of the villagers soon become acquainted with someone from Strega Nona’s extended family. A desperate plea comes from their grandmotherly witch’s cousin. Duke Andrea di Limone’s super-gorgeous daughter drives all but one young man in the area crazy with unrequited love.  Angelina contrastingly falls ironically head over heels in love with her super-vain male counterpart. She finds her exile at Strega Nona’s miserable despite:

  • Behaving like a self-centered, spoiled two-year-old;
  • Redecorating the bedroom;
  • Taking advantage of family ties;
  • Treating Bambolona and Big Anthony like abused, overworked servants.

Strega Nona nevertheless gets beyond unlikeable personalities when communal, familial, or individual problems require mitigation or resolution. She knows that:

  • Angelina and Hugo deserve each other;
  • Like likes like.


Strega Nona Does It Again by Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona has the perfect remedy for a house guest who has overstayed her welcome and has turned everything topsy-turvy.
Tomie dePaola's Strega Nona series



Tomie dePaola thus far claims unique honors as the only Sarah Josepha Hale Award recipient known predominantly for illustrating and writing children’s books. The Richards Free Library trustees in Newport, New Hampshire, grant the award as one of New England’s most distinguished, long-standing literary recognitions. Based upon nominations by a national board of judges, the recognition has two components:

  • A bronze award;
  • An honorarium from the Holden-Yeomans Memorial Fund.

It intends to embrace the recipient’s complete works. It is not at all surprising that Thomas Anthony dePaola’s output gets acknowledged since Strega Nona Does It Again! expectedly embodies deep truths which pertain outside the author – illustrator’s target audience of:

  • Ages 4 – 8+;
  • Grades preschool through third grade.


Tomie dePaola holds the honor of being the only children's author-illustrator to receive the Sarah Josepha Hale Award, administered by the Richards Free Library:

Previous recipients of the award, presented annually since 1956, include Robert Frost, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Arthur Miller, and Roger Tory Peterson.
Newport, central Sullivan County, southwestern New Hampshire
Newport, central Sullivan County, southwestern New Hampshire



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


Telling Stories with Tomie "Every Picture Tells a Story" ~ Tomie dePaola's trio of characters -- Strega Nona, Big Anthony, and Bambolona -- come to life via The Jim Henson Company.

Published on YouTube on March 8, 2013 by The Jim Henson Company ~ URL:

Sources Consulted


"About Tomie: Recognitions." Retrieved January 5, 2015.

  • Available at:

dePaola, Tomie. 2013. Strega Nona Does It Again! New York, NY: Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin USA Young Readers Group imprint.

“Tomie dePaola, ‘Strega Nona Does It Again'.” Event. Madison, CT: R.J. Julia Independent Booksellers. Retrieved January 5, 2015.

  • Available at:



the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Italy watercolor map: black t-shirt ~ Available via AllPosters

Tomie dePaola sets his Strega Nona series in Italy, in Calabria in the toe of the Italian Peninsula.
Italy Watercolor Map
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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 01/05/2015, DerdriuMarriner
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