Author/Illustrator: Leo Lionni
Publication Year: 1963
Brief Summary: When Strega Nona, the “grandmother witch”, hires Big Anthony to work around her house, chaos ensues when the boy tries his hand at magic.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:
- New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year, 1963 Winner United States
- Randolph Caldecott Medal, 1964 Honor Book United States
- Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson
- Children’s Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson
- Notable Children’s Books, 1963 ; ALSC American Library Association
Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:
- How did Swimmy feel when he escaped from the tuna fish? Discuss what it means to be lonely, scared, and sad. Ask the students if they’d ever felt that way (only those who are comfortable to share). What did they do — or what did others do — to help them feel better?
- How did Swimmy feel when he began to make friends?
- Why did his friends not want to go out and play? (They were scared of being eaten.) How did he outsmart the tuna at the end of the book? Can you think of a time when you were worried about doing something? How did you overcome your worry/fear?
- Swimmy thought and thought to solve a problem. Write or draw about the last time you solved a problem.
- Discuss food chains using informational material. Why is it important to our ecosystem?
- Discuss camouflage. How do animals/plants use it to protect themselves? Pair with informational books about animal adaptations, etc.
- What kind of ocean animals/plants do you see?
- How did the author/illustrator use colors to tell us about Swimmy’s feelings? What colors do you associate with loneliness, sadness, being scared, and happiness?
- Vocabular: school of fish… What other words do we use to describe a group of animals?
Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.
- Science – camouflage, food chain, ocean lifeforms
- language arts – vocabulary
- Text-to-self connections
Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.:
Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library