Strega Nona

Obviously there can never be too many good things said about the books of Tomie DePaola, but I have a soft spot for Strega Nona, and Big Anthony, and her magic pasta pot.

Strega Nona is ‘grandma witch’ and she hires Big Anthony to help her around her home. Unbeknownst to her, he sees her using her magic pasta pot and remembers how to make it work. Unbeknownst to him, he misses seeing part of the chant to stop to pasta pot. She leaves town and Big Anthony decides to show off with the pot. Chaos ensues, but luckily Strega Nona returns to save the day and teach Big Anthony a lesson.

Charlotte stayed awake until the very end so I can only imagine that she was eager to learn how Big Anthony got himself out of trouble!


Please, Mr. Panda

I bought Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony at my school’s book fair last year. It definitely reminds me a lot of Jon Klassen’s hat books, which are some of my favorites.

Mr. Panda has a box of delicious donuts to give away, but he can’t seem to find the right animal to share his donuts with. He is waiting to hear some “magic words” and when he finally does, you’ll love his response.

This is a fun story that could be used to talk about manners and saying please and thank you – or you can enjoy it just for fun.

It was the kind of night when everyone is tired and grumpy at our house last night so this short and sweet read was perfect.


Milo’s Hat Trick

I love Jon Agee’s Milo’s Hat Trick.  Milo is a not so impressive magician who is told that he’d better find a way to pull a rabbit out of his hat – or else, but what he finds is actually even better.  

The first time I ever read it to anyone was when I was doing a magic themed story time at the public library for a group of elementary school students and they loved it too. The ending has a perfect little twist that makes it so much fun.

Charlotte stayed awake for the entire book last night and looked at each spread of pages as I read the book, so she definitely was drawn to the bright illustrations against plenty of white space.  Her dad loved the book too and let out a couple of chuckles during the story.

My copy is older but from the link above to the Penguin Random House website it looks as though this book will be coming out in hardcover again in September so keep an eye out for it! And a on a side note – Agee also has a great book called Little Santa which has been so popular with my kindergarteners and first graders at school!


Zombie in Love

We read Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio last night and it was so fun. It is the sorry of a sweet Zombie looking for a date to Cupid’s Ball.  Adam picked the story and did the reading – except for when I sang the personal ad part to the tune of Rupert Holmes’ song ‘Escape’, which may have startled Charlotte momentarily but I couldn’t resist.  The illustrations by Scott Campbell are so great. I love flipping pages and noticing details like zombie body parts falling off after a fall. I realize it sounds gruesome but it’s really a silly, sweet book that I know Charlotte will appreciate when she is older. I’ve got Zombie in Love 2 + 1 on the family wish list for sure!



Last night we wrapped Charlotte up in her swaddle sleepsack and snuggled up to read Don Freeman’s classic, Corduroy.  Adam had never read it as a kid or at least didn’t remember doing so.  It’s a sweet story and still remains relevant today – a toy wants a home, a little girl sees past his imperfections and loves him anyway. She’s only 10 weeks old, but seeing the good that is behind imperfections is a skill I want Charlotte to have one day. It was a quick, cozy sort of story and perfect for bedtime. Charlotte didn’t pay much attention to the illustrations, though I appreciated them, and she happily drifted off to sleep while I was reading. That’s definitely a bedtime success. I’m really looking forward to sharing this story with her again when she’s old enough to appreciate the storyline!