On September 27, 2003, a small but eager group gathered in the Bucyrus Public Library's Community Room to celebrate the birthday of well-known author Tomie de Paola. Tomie's actual birthday was September 15th, and he was 69 years old.
Children's Librarian Barb Scott, dressed as Strega Nona, first shared the story of the same name with participants. She invited them to take pieces of pull-and-peel licorice piled on a plate to resemble spaghetti to enjoy during the story, as well as have them help to blow three kisses during the story (which is how Strega Nona stops the pasta pot). The costume came from Costume Specialists of Columbus, Ohio.
Once the story was finished, participants were invited to five craft tables:
1. Big Anthony's Pasta Necklace--To honor the character of Big Anthony, a main character in Strega Nona, participants were invited to string different types of pasta onto a piece of yarn to form a necklace.
2. Charlie Needs a Cloak Lamb Craft--Participants colored and cut out a lamb shape, which was then glued to piece of posterboard for strength. The lamb shape was then covered with cotton balls. Two clip clothespins were then attached to the bottom to form legs.
3. The Knight and the Dragon Dragon Mask Craft--Participants colored a large dragon mask shape. This shape was then cut out, as were the eye holes. A paint stick was then attached to the bottom so that children could put the mask in front of their faces!
4. Bill and Pete Crocodile Craft--An alligator pattern was provided to fold, color, and cut out. Diagonal cuts were made on the top of the folded alligator to form scales. Eyes and mouths were then added.
5. A Birthday Card for Tomie--Participants were invited to use crayons, markers, etc. to make a birthday card for Tomie. Cards were collected and will be sent to him, along with a picture of the group.
Once the crafts were completed, participants were invited to eat snacks provided. Punch was available, as well as fruit snacks, pretzels, popcorn (Tomie's favorite food!), as well as the leftover pull-and-peel spaghetti.
A second story, Little Grunt and the Big Egg, was shared.
Before leaving, each participant received a baggie with a miniature crocodile, mini crayon keychain, and a Strega Nona tattoo. Each child also got to take home either a plastic crayon mug or a plush star which were part of the room and table decorations.