Babaji goes for a walk in the jungle, proudly sporting his fine new clothes. Whom does he meet, but several hungry tigers! To avoid being eaten, Babaji convinces each tiger to take a piece of his clothing. The tale of how Babaji outwits these vain beasts, gets his clothes back, and enjoys tiger butter with his pancake dinner has been entertaining readers since 1899. Originally titled The Story of Little Black Sambo, this classic is given new life by Marcellino's superb watercolors.
This story, which might almost have come out of some folklore collection, has about it an effortless perfection which baffles analysis . . . The formula is: extreme simplicity of language, short, cadenced sentences with enough repetition to give the pleasant rhythm little children enjoy, a plot full of mild and funny surprises, considerable suspense, and complete satisfaction at the end. Still, the easy charm of this unaffected, convincing little tale eludes us.