Wearing a minus sign on his costumed chest, swashbuckling through his crimes in black cape and mask, Mathews' wicked pig gloats that ""Every plan I put in action/ means for other pigs subtraction."" And so once more (as in Bunches and Bunches of Bunnies and Alligator Pie), she integrates a brisk rhyming story with an arithmetic lesson. The thief steals rattles from a pig nursery school, presents from a pig birthday party, jewelry from a pigs' ""grand"" masquerade ball, and--swooping down on a trapeze--purses from a circus audience. Each time, readers are left with a question--for example: ""There were 9 gifts, just 4 are left./ How many were taken away in the theft?"" In the end the robber's success proves his undoing: fleeing a bank with moneybags, he finds he's too fat to get through the door. In a neat solution to all the questions, Mathews has police find loot from past crimes--5 party gifts and so on--in pouches in his cape lining. Gimmicky, yes, but brisk as ever. And Bassett's posturing villain cuts an amusing figure.