De Laurentiis should be embarrassed to have her name on this trite, clichéd and overlong story, although it is not clear how much she had to do with the writing.
Siblings Alfredo and Emilia are having takeout pizza, again, as their parents are too busy to cook. Appearing on their doorstep is their mother’s aunt, Zia Donatella, who travels the world having adventures and who loves to cook. The children find her making zeppole in the kitchen that night, and then, after a bite, they find themselves in Naples, their family’s hometown, alone! They can understand what everyone is saying! It’s time for the Festa di Pizza! Marco, a local boy, fortuitously finds the pair and takes them with him on his search for the best tomatoes, mozzarella and basil for his family’s pizza. Of course, there is a rival family, who turn out to be a different branch of Marco’s family, and Alfredo and Emilia manage to engineer peace between brothers in time for the pizza contest that night. By taking a bite of another Neapolitan specialty, lemon fried fish, they magically find themselves at home, where their mother is making pizza from scratch (with help from Zia Donatella) for the school’s United Nations potluck. The siblings’ teasing relationship, their aunt’s glamour and their parents’ occasional use of Italian are all broadly drawn and border on caricature.
This kicks off a series. Oh, dear. (recipes) (Fantasy. 7-10)