Strega Nona Meets Her Match by Tomie dePaola
Wherein Strega Nona defeats her business competition by sending in a saboteur.
I was researching books that I might give to my niece and I came across this gem.
Strega Nona is a traditional healer in a little town in Calabria. Her friend Strega Amelia is a healer from over the mountain. Strega Amelia comes for a visit and sees what a good business Strega Nona has in the town and decides to compete with her. Strega Amelia says, “I see she still uses the old-fashioned ways too. Hmm, I’ll have to think about this.” Strega Amelia goes home and returns a week later, setting up her shop. She offers modern, effective remedies and “free sweets and coffee with every visit.”
Strega Amelia is an instant hit! After a few weeks, everyone in the town has realized that Strega Amelia supplies better products and services than Strega Nona and Stella Nona’s tired old business has dried up completely.
So what does Strega Nona do? She gets her helper, Big Anthony to infiltrate Strega Amelia’s company. Then, when Amelia is away on business, Big Anthony finds his moment and sabotages Amelia’s corporate image. At the height of his attack, he “forgets” how to operate the headache relieving machine and almost kills the mayor.
Strega Amelia returns the next day only to be run out of town. Strega Nona works her magic one last time and makes sure her fingerprints aren’t on the crime.
And everyone lives happily ever after. (?!?!?!) Yes, it really plays out like that. This book sends a very bad message.
In the next Strega Nona book she gets even with her mean neighbor by framing her for a felony. Then Strega Nona orders a hit on the mayor. Hilarity ensues!