cover image Strega Nona Meets Her Match

Strega Nona Meets Her Match

Tomie dePaola. Putnam Publishing Group, $18.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22421-8

Despite the seven-year absence of Strega Nona (last seen in Merry Christmas, Strega Nona ), her faithful fans won't be fooled by the pessimistic title of her new adventure: this witch has more than one potion up her sleeve. When Strega Amelia (a witch with a flair for fancy robes and fancy contraptions) pays a visit to her longtime friend, she is so impressed by the crowds queuing up for cures each morning that she promptly sets up a shop of her own. Proffering sweets, cappuccino and the use of exotic machinery, Amelia lures away all of Strega Nona's customers, even hiring Big Anthony to be her assistant. The newly unemployed Strega Nona blesses the partnership, but readers will begin to discern mischief at work: With Big Anthony around, can disaster be far behind? DePaola once again decants the charm of a sleepy Italian village with his Tuscan-toned watercolors and a sprinkling of Italian words and phrases. A palette of warm pinks and purples lends extra cheeriness to the tale. Strega Nona (a witch with as much sense as sorcery skills) ultimately prevails, humorously underscoring the message that the tried-and-true is often best. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)