Angelina wants a pet, any pet, but to her neat-freak parents, an animal in the house would be intolerable.
Angelina’s family has a long history of excessive neatness, but she seems to attract messes. Mother and Father Neatolini are not amused by Angelina’s apparent absence of neat genes. When Angelina wishes on a star, a rather ditzy, hearing-impaired, magical ladybug tries to help. Unfortunately, she conjures up a pest instead of a pet. It comes equipped with kitchen utensils and magical ingredients and proceeds to cook up a storm of delightful confections, while making an enormous mess. Continuing to mishear, the ladybug adds carpenter bees, a pink widow spider and doodlebugs, all of which wildly decorate the house. The Neatolinis are appalled by the mess, but upon tasting the cakes and cookies, these obsessively neat people suddenly see the beauty in the new decorations and Angelina is allowed to keep her pet pest. Primavera employs vivid, descriptive language in a highly imaginative tale. But themes of neatness versus chaos, need for acceptance, desire for a pet and parent-child relationships all vie for readers’ attention, and the melange all culminates in an abrupt, contrived denouement. Docampo’s bright gouache illustrations, filled with appealingly stylized, exaggerated detail in large scale spreads, greatly enhance the text.
Pleasant and amusing, but not quite a hit. (Picture book. 4-8)