Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola is one of the classic children's books of all time. Since I was little, I was delighted by the tale of Strega Nona ("witch grandmother") and her magic pasta pot that could boil pasta with a few magic words. I was equally enchanted when her helper Big Anthony tries to use the magic pasta pot with disastrous and hilarious results. Tomie dePaola's illustrations are charming and fun. When I had my daughter, it was one of the first books I bought. We enjoy reading it so. My daughter also loves it because my maternal family is Italian and my daughter and her Great-Nona spend a lot of time together cooking delicious pasta dishes and family meals. My daughter even named her "pretend" cat Strega Nona.
We read it so much, but as is often the case with storybook characters, unless she is imagining it, she could not really act out the Strega Nona story. Until I found Etsy seller, Crunchy Family Rising. Crunchy Family Rising is a fabulous Etsy shop full of wooden handmade goods. I found the Strega Nona playset and am over the moon with how beautiful it is. This hand-carved set is made from poplar and then woodburned and hand-painted with non-toxic watercolor paints. It is finished with a homemade beeswax.
My daughter has not stopped playing with this (as evidenced by the uncooked pasta surrounding the set). We all think it is fabulous, and it is currently at our kitchen table where she plays with it before and after dinner. Crystal, the creator of all of the toys in the Crunchy Family Rising shop said:
I'm inspired, in a large part, by my two children. They're so creative and their imaginations have no limits. I love to listen to them play while I'm working and they don't think I'm paying attention. Some of my creations have been requests from the kids, and some items are things that remind me of their personalities. I started making toys because I wanted to be able to provide my daughter and son with beautiful toys made of natural materials, but couldn't afford to buy them. My husband encouraged me to sell my creations, and now I'm pleased to offer handcrafted, natural toys that other families will enjoy as much as mine has.
Her work is meticulous and so well-done that it truly is a work of art. I cannot wait to get more items from Crunchy Family Rising. For now we are cooking away with Strega Nona.
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