Life is a bowl of cherries when you are voted the ugliest animal in the world—until next year’s contest.
For years, Blob the fish has ascended from his 3,000-foot-deep Pacific home, donned a disguise so as not to make passers-by faint, and attended the world’s-ugliest-animal contest. He has captured second and third but never the prize. This year would be different. There might be a bald uakari monkey, a naked mole rat, an aye-aye lemur, a proboscis monkey, an axolotl, a Vietnamese leaf-nosed bat in the running—all as repulsive as can be under the hand of the extremely artful Tallec—but Blob walks away with the sash and crown for his slimy, graceless, sheepish, pitiful self. He becomes the darling of the animal world and lives the high life for a year, rubbing shoulders with celebrities and becoming spoiled rotten and then depressed as his year approaches its end. He must hand his crown to, gulp, a forked-tailed caterpillar, and there is nowhere to go but down—3,000 feet down, back home, where, “like any traveler who returns home, Blob has many stories to tell. Sometimes, the bright lights and sparkling diamonds he describes seem far from beautiful.” The change is abrupt and awfully subtle—readers who blink may miss it, though alert caregivers can use it as a springboard for conversation.
A morality tale whose moral may go missing. (Picture book. 4-8)