The House at the End of Ladybug Lane

illus. by Valeria Docampo. unpaged. CIP. Random/Robin Corey Bks. Mar. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-375-85584-9. LC 2010031850.
PreS-Gr 2—A whimsically illustrated book about being the family misfit. Unkempt Angelina Neatolini doesn't fit in with her obsessively tidy parents. She also yearns for a pet, which would disrupt the family's pristine new house on Ladybug Lane. Mr. and Mrs. Neatolini are hilarious parodies of uptight parents as they scrub the flowers and vacuum the lawn. Soon to arrive is a hard-of-hearing ladybug who evokes Mary Poppins as she flies in with a tiny mushroom-shaped umbrella and produces delightfully chaotic results. Misunderstanding Angelina, the ladybug grants her a pest instead of a pet, and then a series of insects (including a pink widow spider instead of a non-biting viper) that transform the prim and starchy house into a cozy home. The quirky tone of the narrative (among the pets Angelina requests are "a nice little minnow, a sparrow, or perhaps some sardines") is sure to elicit giggles. As more insects show up, the spreads become so crowded that objects practically spill off the page. Though the antics are appropriately zany, the softness of the gouache paintings gives the story a reassuring quality. The pest—a short, furry, whiskered creature sporting a chef's hat and tentacles—is a particularly winsome character that serves as Angelina's constant companion. Humanizing flourishes on the bugs abound, such as a pink Kewpie doll hairdo and tall boots on the spider. Primavera deftly weaves in a message about finding one's place that will resonate with readers without detracting from the fun.—Mahnaz Dar, formerly at Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
Angelina Neatolini's proclivity for playing in the dirt conflicts with the ideals of her neat-freak family. When a hard-of-hearing ladybug fairy godmother mistakes the word pet for pest, Angelina finds her house full of carpenter bees, pink widow spiders, and a pastry baking bug. The plot is familiar, but Docampo's vibrant, energetic gouache illustrations will charm young readers.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing