More conversation than narrative, this charming book poses all manner of questions worth pondering. Would you rather…tickle a monkey or dance with goats? The more harrowing questions, like Would you rather be… swallowed by a fish or sat on by a rhinoceros? are tempered by Burningham’s wonderfully silly drawings.
Strega Nona, or “Grandma Witch” cures everyone’s ails in her town of Calabria, Italy with her potions and spells. Big Anthony, her helper, is put in charge when Strega Nona takes a trip out of town. She warns him not to touch her magic pasta pot, but he’s too foolish to resist.
Hoping to impress the town’s people, he fills the magic pot with pasta by repeating the secret chant he’d overheard her say. Unfortunately, he missed a key detail and the pot pumps out enough food to cover the entire town! Strega Nona returns just in time to stop the pasta flowing and hand Big Anthony a fork, saying, “The punishment must fit the crime.”