Tomie dePaola is a favorite among children’s book authors and for good reason. His book characters are unique and crazy funny. Kids love that oaf Big Anthony, and who doesn’t enjoy the thought of magic. Strega Nona works her magic…on our kids! (and there are certainly memorable characters in Tomie’s other books as well). Today, I’d like to share ways you can study characterization with the Strega Nona collection as well as Tomie’s other books too.
MODELING WITH MENTOR TEXTS
Once your students are familiar with what traits are, the next step is to use one of the Strega Nona choices for modeling. When sharing a mentor text, I mark specific stopping points for discussion as well as important questions I plan to share. This organizer could be used with your students for recording their ideas for this book as well as other books with strong characters.
STREGA NONA ONLINE
To focus on characterization, we need to look at and analyze the character’s words, thoughts, and actions. Here are guiding questions you can use at the end of each scene from Strega Nona.
The Villagers Come to Visit Her:
- How does Strega Nona show kindness to the villagers?
- What do the villagers think of Strega Nona?
Big Anthony is Hired to Help Strega Nona:
- What types of chores does Strega Nona give to Big Anthony? How does he feel about them?
- Why does Strega Nona warn him to stay away from her pasta pot? Do you think he will listen?
Big Anthony spies on Strega Nona as she cooks:
- How does Big Anthony show that he’s curious?
- How does the author hint that Anthony might be in trouble?
- What did Big Anthony miss? What did he do wrong?
Strega Nona leaves to see Strega Amelia:
- What was Big Anthony thinking when Strega Nona left for her trip?
- Was Anthony wise or foolish for using the pasta pot? Explain.
- The villagers laugh at Big Anthony. Why do you think this is?
The Pasta Keeps Coming:
- The villagers run and pray that the pasta stop coming. What does this show?
- Strega Nona insists that Big Anthony eat all of the pasta. What does this show?