Reguera lets her young protagonist’s mind run free as she ponders “what the most incredible animal in the world is.”
Valentina is walking home hand in hand with her mother, human but looking rather like an angelic lemur gazing at heaven, when she asks her mother what, animalwise, is “The most spectacular! The besty besty best of all!” Students are to dress up on Tuesday as their favorite animals, but she wants to be the perfect animal. Valentina goes on to answer her own question, starting with an elephant (“giant tusks,” “those huge ears for keeping cool,” “the only animal with a trunk for spraying,” which sounds more like a resume than anything else). But what about cold weather? Maybe a bear would be better. Each creature—bat, giraffe, fish, and so on—ends up tipping Valentina into a different, equally stream-of-consciousness and preciously voiced musing. More inviting are the boxed, paper-clipped notepad “Fun Facts” that accompany each animal: “The elephant is the only animal that can’t jump”; “Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards.” Lemurlike Valentina is depicted inside each animal, looking out through what appears to be the porthole of a diving bell. The answer to the perfect animal (a little bit of each and “a sprinkle of Valentina”) will come as no surprise.
Disappointingly didactic and predictable. (Picture book. 4-8)