cover image Pantaloon


Kathryn Jackson, illus. by Steven Salerno, Random/Golden, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-85624-2

Jackson's (Tawny Scrawny Lion) venerable Little Golden Book title, first published in 1951, has worn well. It seems like a simple proposition: the baker needs help with his éclairs and pastries, while black poodle Pantaloon is eager for employment. But the baker is not fooled. "Oh no, Pantaloon!" says the baker. "You look to me as if you'd eat more than you'd bake!" His suspicion is justified; next Pantaloon dresses up as an old woman in order to get in the door and nearer those pastries. New illustrations by Salerno (Harry Hungry!) retain the innocence of old four-color Golden Book spreads; the baker's big chest expresses his cocksure attitude, while Pantaloon's small pink tongue gets a good workout amid the lavishly decorated pastries. Only an unexpected accident shows the baker that Pantaloon can be trusted after all. "Why, where's Pantaloon?" all the customers ask when the baker returns. "How you must miss him!" The surprise ending incorporates a message on a cake; even better, Pantaloon is transformed—believably—from impulsive prankster into a responsible and passionate baker. A delicious treat. Ages 2–5. (Mar.)