Brava Strega Nona! A Heartwarming Pop-Up Book

Tomie dePaola, Author, Tomie dePaola, Illustrator, Robert Clarke Sabuda, Illustrator
Tomie dePaola, Author, Tomie dePaola, Illustrator, Robert Clarke Sabuda, Illustrator , illus. by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. Putnam $29.99 (12p) ISBN 978-0-399-24453-7
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DePaola's timeless Tuscan heroine trades in her magic spells in a pop-up book that will be best appreciated by kids who already know Strega Nona, Big Anthony and the rest. There's little storytelling: the initial spread has a small autobiographical inset “by” Strega Nona (complete with pop-ups) and a text box in Strega Nona's voice, declaring her intention to pass along her own and Grandma Concetta's secrets “for a magical life.” The first of these is “famiglia—family”; accordingly, Sabuda and Reinhart (Encyclopedia Mythologica ) supply a towering tree from which ancestors' portraits bloom and from which a swing hangs, holding Strega Nona. Elsewhere, Strega Nona's friends dine under a grape arbor; Big Anthony slides into the village square on an avalanche of pasta; Strega Nona's pasta pot overflows with red hearts (her “secret ingredient” is love). Don't look for Sabuda and Reinhart's most jaw-dropping work: built for relatively young hands (though not for toddlers), this book has few movable parts, and the interactive elements, like lift-the-flap shutters and doors on village houses, are clearly labeled for durability's sake. All ages. (Oct.)

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