A large, wacky family struggles to pick a family pet.
The Pepper family (mother Tee, father Sal, Meemaw, and six kids between the ages of 2 and 12) live in one “crazypants” house. The plot kicks off when 8-year-old Annie schemes to get a family pet after rescuing a tiny Chihuahua, Azzie, from a pack of squirrels. Azzie lives at Frida Flamingo’s Animal Adoption Agency. However, their father has a strict “Peppers don’t do pets” rule. Using both facts and appeals to emotion, she rallies her family to get a pet. But Annie’s adoption of Azzie isn’t guaranteed, as her siblings can’t decide on what kind of pet. Instead of compromising, and in accordance with Pepper family tradition, they draw a name out of a hat. Aspiring horror movie–maker Beta wins and picks a telegenic tarantula. Frustrated that Beta picked a “family” pet only he would enjoy, Annie gives in to a dark impulse and lets the spider out, leading to a humorous bathroom mishap (related from tarantula Harry’s perspective) that sends him back to the shelter and the Peppers back to the hat. On the cycle of animal disasters goes, until the Peppers are banned from pet adoption and every kid’s heartbroken. At last Annie comes up with a cinematic scheme to make things right, and the Pepper parents commit to responsible pet ownership. The third-person narration is smart, well-paced, and funny; Cooper’s grayscale cartoons add fizz. Annie and Beta are both blond and appear white, but some family members seem to have slightly-darker-than–paper-white skin.
A silly little series opener. (Fiction. 7-10)