A Chihuahua who suffers from small-dog syndrome learns to be happy with himself.
In his attempt to attract the romantic attention of a large, bad-boy–loving Afghan, squeaky-voiced Chihuahua Paco yearns to become a werewolf. A werewolf would make Natasha stand up and take notice of him, instead of mocking him for having the heart of a lion…a dandelion. Hearing that drinking water out of a werewolf footprint will do the trick, Paco drags his oldest friend, Coco the chocolate Lab, out on an adventure that puts all the animals, even the humans, in danger. Not only is the werewolf real, but Paco and Coco have accidentally led him right to—gasp!—Natasha. What ensues is an overlong adventure in which the animals (cats, skunks, dogs, birds…) work together to outwit the slow-moving werewolf, protect their humans and learn the value of true friends. The message is crystal clear here—Paco should love himself the way he is and appreciate his true friends—but the story just goes on too long, relying on too many plays on words, occasional Speedy Gonzalez Spanish and jarring changes of narrative voice. Infrequent black-and-white illustrations lack energy and will not help the young independent reader’s comprehension. And no dog lover will believe the scale in the illustrations between the oversized Lab and the miniscule Chihuahua.
Nothing to bark about here. (Fantasy/suspense. 8-12)