Set in what feels like Renaissance Italy, Strega Nona is an old woman who cares for the little needs of the people in her village. "She could cure a head ache, with oil and water and a hairpin. She made a special potion for the girls who wanted husbands. And she was very good at getting rid of warts." It is a lovely tale where the new ways of Christianity peaceably co-exist with the old earth ways. Strega Nona is looking for an heir to all her healing ways. Only Big Anthony replies and so he gets the position. Mostly she trains him through the doing of physical chores around the house where he learns patience, humility and discipline. The one thing she forbades him to do is to touch the magic pasta pot which of course he does. A crisis ensues. Beautiful, warm drawings and good old fashioned storytelling. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaoloa is a winner of the prestigous Caldecott Award which I personally hold in high regard. Recommended for children aged 3-7.